Tag Archives: Food

But what about the Jedi’s?

Just had a very pleasant weekend in Vancouver sampling two types of Chinese cuisine we’d previously not made time for. Firstly Dim Sum. Which is good. Although I found Chinese Toon buns a little bland. Secondly Chongqing hot pot, also known in Japan as Sabu-Sabu. Approach with caution. This stuff will blow your mind and taste buds into the stratosphere. If you think a full strength Vindaloo is hot, you will find out why the Chinese do not really need a nuclear deterrent after sampling this style of cuisine. Put simply, this chilli laden content detonates in the mouth and scorches its way into the stomach for an explosion of warmth which is welcome on a chilly wet Vancouver Winter evening. Upon ordering a ‘medium’ strength meal, we were entreated not to go for the spicy option by the head waiter, and found even the ‘mild’ version a tingling mouth-fest of gustatory amusement. If you like spicy food, you will absolutely love Chongqing hot pot. Recommendation; JDB (Wong Lo Kat) herbal tea reduces mouth burn.

Meanwhile, back on the topic; the M-103 motion. Sargon of Akkad puts his thoughts on this matter forward in the video below.

With the passing of M-103, I’d like to clear something up. Firstly M-103 is not law, nor does it form the basis of law, yet. However, in the meantime it may well be implemented as policy by the ironically titled Canadian Human Rights Commission. Who are known to prosecute those whose voiced opinion does not fit an assumed ideal, regardless of supporting legislation. Their motto appears to be “If you’re Jewish or ‘white’ and Anglo-Saxon – you’re guilty.” Which I find more than a little prejudiced. Racist, even. As one who is happy to break bread with any skin colour, I must say I actually feel threatened and made uncomfortable by this bias against people of my dermal colouration.

Notwithstanding, if this motion does go on to form the basis of a more generalised blasphemy law, every single minority in Canada, especially the First Nations, will be threatened. Why should Islam be singled out for preferential treatment? Why should the more pantheistic beliefs of the North American natives (First Nations) be excluded? Or Daoists, Taoists, Shintoists, Buddhists and followers of Confucius? Never mind all the forms of Christianity and Paganism. And what about the Jedi? Will they have to give up wearing hoods and openly carrying their lightsabres? Or the Sikhs be forced to give up their turbans because Islam becomes the preferred religion of the corporate state?

Islam by contrast seems to be a religion of dislikes, which is defined by the things it considers Haram or ‘unclean’. Indeed, its proscriptions against Alcohol, Dogs, and Women are well known. Alcohol being forbidden, dogs considered dirty (Well they are, but dogs are also fun, loyal and trustworthy) and women reduced to becoming second class citizens, being forbidden to drive, go out on their own without a male escort and exhorted to cover their head and faces.

Islam also makes provision for treating the women of other cultures as inferior, considering gang rape and sexual molestation legitimate tools for subduing non-Islamic females. This of course includes ‘feminists’. Even the radicals who feel that by appeasing Islam they will be ‘safe’. Yes. This is not going to end well for you guys. Bend over buttercup. This is, whether you like it or not, the will of Allah.

I’d also like to make the point that if Islam gets a free pass, there will be no ‘safe spaces’ left for anyone. Indeed, radical (and not so radical) Islamists think violence against ‘unbelievers’ not only necessary but a religious duty. Well what about gays? Islamic Sharia law encourages throwing homosexuals and similar off tall buildings, hanging them slowly in public using cranes, cutting off their heads, stoning and burning to death.

My point here is that no religion, especially one with so many prescriptions of violence against non-believers and ‘alternative’ lifestyles, should be handed such a tempting platter as a blasphemy law. As has been demonstrated worldwide, they’d only abuse the privilege. Along with the human rights of everyone else. Even the Jedi.

On the nature of custard

Some like it cold,
Some like it hot,
Some dab while others smother,
And with a simple, yellow blot,
Robert’s one’s father’s brother.

Excuse me rewriting Nancy Tyler’s old saw, but I often remind myself how much I like custard. Not the thin runny nightmare of School dinners long years past, but of a thick yellow comfort food which lubricates any pie, cobbler, crumble or steamed pudding down into the digestive tract like a greased pig off Teflon. There are many versions, from the almost white sauces with a huge hit of Vanilla to the golden lusciousness of which I write, made with Mr Birds famous custard powder. Which is a strange substance, given to exploding and people have even been known to walk on it. At General Foods in Banbury 1981, some actually detonated, the explosion being strong enough to blow the factory wall out and injure 8 people. So, handle with respect. This is not a safe cooking space.

I belong to the thick custard end of the spectrum, because thin custard, as anyone who has partaken of a pre 1980’s UK school dinner will know, runny custard is an abomination and not fit for polite society. Thick custard is far more versatile and as well as generally being more tasty, can be moulded and even sliced by those inculcated into the culinary mysteries that even the Freemasons and other so-called ‘secret’ societies never tell you about. I’ve even heard it whispered that some chefs crust it over like Crème Brûlée, which is basically a fancy custard tart without pastry, and consume it in guilty secrecy so that the waiting staff will not look down their noses at them. Because custard is, well, too English, and English cookery is très inférieur, non?

Which is a nonsense. French cooking is good, but when it comes to stews and roasts English cuisine matches the English climate, in that it is bucolic, robust and hearty. Both the French and English traditions have their specific strengths, but neither reigns supreme. Each has a place. Just like sometimes you want the brash horseradish heat of Colemans English Mustard with roast beef where the spicier Dijon or German mustards just won’t do. Or a decent crumbly Blue Stilton where Roquefort is too pungent and Danish Blue too greasy.

This is where English style custard raises a triumphant two primitive fingers against all the food critics. It has no pretensions, no finesse, it just is. The trick is not too much custard powder and just enough sugar. I find a 50/50 mix does the trick, adding just enough whole milk, not skimmed, 1% or 2% but full cream, to give your custard the rich creaminess that is the hallmark of this viscous gold.

To make really thick custard for slicing when cold:

Ingredients:
One heaped teaspoon of Birds Custard powder
The same amount of white granulated sugar
One drop of Vanilla extract
One and a half cups whole cream milk

Method:  
Mix custard powder and sugar together, add a little of the milk to make a smooth yellow paste. Heat the rest of the milk on a small one pint pan over a medium heat until it begins to bubble at the edges.
Now add the custard and sugar paste in the pan, stirring gently.
Or
Decant hot milk into bowl with custard and sugar paste. Mix. Now return to the saucepan and put back on heat.
Now add one drop of vanilla extract, no more.

Keep stirring gently, or your custard will become full of lumps as the cornstarch in the mix binds too quickly and no one will love you ever again because it has been scientifically proven that those who make lumpy custard are no good in bed. I use a whisk for the best results. Wearing Leather bondage gear is optional. Not PVC or leather substitute. Like with your custard, only the real thing will do.

When the mix is thick enough that a slow stirring motion briefly exposes the bottom of the pan, remove from heat and decant custard into a dish. At this point you can eat the custard hot with the pie or pudding of your choice, but I’ve another suggestion.

Leave the custard to cool for an hour until it has the consistency of jelly. remove from dish using a knife so it forms a dome. Now you have the choice of making a kind of fruit compote and pouring it over the solidified golden dome, or stewing some apple, leaving that to cool and, having sliced your solidified custard into quarter inch slices, put a layer of stewed apple between each slice. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar, ground cinnamon and perhaps even nutmeg if you’re feeling posh. Bung in the fridge for half an hour. Serve. Or keep it for yourself. You’re worth it. I give you permission to caramelise with one of those rinky dinky little blowtorches. Tell me how you got on because I haven’t bought one yet.

Yes, Jordan Peterson says you must embrace your inner monster so you never have to use it, but I say, don’t just give your inner monster a kiss and a big hug, take it by the hand and drag it into the bedroom. Well made custard will enable you to do this. Honestly.

Told you so… again

Well, the writing on the wall is now appearing for the latest ‘Gluten free’ fad diet in a recent study of 30 years data. Well, colour me surprised. Not. Another fad diet bites the Broccoli.

That’s the thing with fad diets, they take little or no notice of actual facts. Now if you have the flattening of villi in the small intestine that indicates Coeliac disease, a lot of Gluten is not fun. Lots of abdominal issues including distension, dire rear, discomfort and a tendency to huge flabby woof-woofs await (As well as upping your ‘Carbon Footprint’). Besides, that’s only a problem for the one percent of the population with a genetic predisposition to the disease who have to lay off the sarnies. The rest of us are quite safe. Although too high a proportion of grain based food in the diet isn’t the best thing for you, so maybe cutting back on the breads and pastries isn’t that bad an idea. As for too much Gluten causing Coeliac disease, well, doubt has been cast upon that assertion.

According to the head of the study behind this news item, Dr Geng Zong, a ‎Research Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston:

“Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrient [such as vitamins and minerals], making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more,”

Which is what we see in the supermarkets, like with the fad over ‘Superfoods’ and the otherwise inedible Kale, which some people rave about. ‘Rave’ being the operative word here, or maybe ‘unhinged’ would be better. Fixating on one’s diet to the exclusion of all else isn’t good for you, physically or mentally. That way lies OCD.

As for Kale, it’s one of those things I was once persuaded, much against my good judgement, to eat. But honestly after one prickly mouthful found wasn’t worth the effort. I’d class it as one of those foods you only need to eat if there’s nothing else in the larder and every shop within a fifty mile radius has sold out and shut down for the next forty eight hours. Yes, it’s got minerals and vitamins, but so has a brick. Oh yes, and depending upon where it’s grown, can contain significant levels of the toxic metal Thallium. I’m told that it used to be popular in Scotland. Which would explain much about the Scots.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a nice brace of steaks ageing in the fridge calling my taste buds. That’s a low gluten diet fixation with flavour.

Another little bit of woodwork

Well, I’ve reached the half way point in the Drinks Cabinet project and proved to Mrs S yet again, that she may be married to one of the world’s few real multi-tasking men. Even if I had to cheat a bit. Having said that I think I’ve perfected my recipe for fish stew, but the Lemon and Garlic Couscous to go with it needs a little work. Less lemon, a spot of butter, and a trifle more seasoning with a scattering of finely chopped bell peppers should do it. I’ll post the method and ingredients under cooking for conspiracy theorists when I’ve nailed it all down.

drinks-cabinet-during-01A small job popped in via email and was quickly dealt with, then I busied myself with the usual chores and a bit of furniture redistribution before removing the shonky looking backing of the cabinet to expose the rebate (See before and after pictures). Why someone fitted that rubbishy looking 3/8th inch square Cedar beading in there is beyond me. I took it out anyway.

drinks-cabinet-during-02Next was staining one side of the inner back section and giving it a double coat of varnish. While that was drying, I fitted a small LED strip light under the shelf, running the cable to the left and left rear of the cabinet out of the back. Then once the inner panel was dry, I dropped it into place and fixed with a few panel pins and some carpenters glue. In the words of Cinderella overheard by palace servants just after her wedding to Prince Charming “It fits! OMG! IT FITS!” Have you any idea what they were up to? Me neither.

drinks-cabinet-during-03So how far have we got? Well, not much further to go. I’ve sanded the outer panel and got rid of the labels and manufacturing stain. The light fitting works nicely, and I should be finished by supper time tomorrow. No more groping around in the semi darkness of the single malt lottery and having to squint at wine labels for us. Although the wine rack is empty as we’ve been buying 3 litre boxes of reasonable Australian and Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignons for the last few months. Which saves all the fuss and palaver with Wine Savers and other such widgets if you just aren’t in the mood to quaff a full bottle.

I’ll restock properly in a month or two when the weather improves enough for an afternoon glass or three out on the deck watching shipping drift past along the Juan De Fuca and trying to ignore all the panicky hand waving over something someone has said on the Interweb, or Donald Trumps latest policy implementation, or BREXIT, and possibly even a FREXIT if the French electorate decides to bet on Ms Le Pen. That could be fun.

In the meantime that’s it really. Same stuff, different day. Life plods on.

Oh dear

The latest border creep of what constitutes ‘racism’ has just crossed the boundary into the kitchen. Specifically the rather strange claim that drinking milk is now ‘Racist’. Which greatly upsets me. Especially as the white stuff figures largely in so many of my favourite savoury or dessert recipes. Will a new crime of ‘Hate Cooking’ be created making it illegal to prepare things that are deemed ‘Too white’? What of whipping cream? Will that have to be withdrawn from sale because the act of flagellating milk derivative into lovely stiff, creamy peaks becomes the equivalent of statuesque blondes strutting around in swastika encrusted basques and black stockings thwacking people with riding crops? God yes, Helga, take me home I’m ready. Gosh. What an interesting thought.

milk-is-only-for-racist-nazisWhich raises a question. Is milk now so racist even Nazi’s hate it? Fortunately I can answer this question with a definitive “Yes” and have been able to obtain historical photographic proof. My God, this is political dynamite!

Also in the event Marine Le Pen wins the French Presidential election does that mean I will no longer be able to source the delights of Roquefort, Brie or Camembert? Friends, (I know I used to have some) possibly, well, maybe not so many; this is terrible. That nice Mr Trudeau will have to outlaw ‘hate’ dairy products that are deemed too ‘white’. Oh, hold on a minute, I’ve just read the year dates on some of the cited articles. 1997, 2004, 2016, and now 2017. Good gravy! Is there no end to this awful prejudice? When will this madness end! What will happen to the economy of Wisconsin? Is no-one safe?

the-french-resistanceFortunately my fiends, (either of you) there is hope. From Europe comes a brave group of heroic figures, skilled in the art of converting racist milk and cream into lovely, non racist blue cheeses. Meet Michelle, Rene and Yvette, specialist resistance cheese makers who can rid us all of the terrible racist curse of milk drinking.

Oh shit. That’s another of the sacred ‘ists’ isn’t it? The really naughty one prefixed with S-E-X. Oh dear. I’m in real trouble now.

Never buy anything Trudeau

No, nothing to do with the current Prime Minister of Canada, who is sucking up to everyone but our cousins down south. At present if he went to see President Trump, that would be electoral suicide in the urban enclaves which gave the fop his mandate. Today’s little missive, by contrast, is about a pepper mill.

Now I use fresh ground black pepper when I’m cooking. A lot. I like the bite on my tongues midsection when cooking spicy food, not too much, just enough to give things an fine edge. To this end I purchased a pepper mill. One of those dildo-like wooden thingummies that waiting staff in restaurants threaten you with, before they sneak up on you and try to make you choke with a sudden “How is your food tasting?” Who tells waiting staff to do this? I’d like to shake them warmly by the throat. I’m actually amazed that more people don’t die in restaurants when challenged in this fashion mid mouthful.

I’d also like to know why Black pepper is treated with such faux-reverence and doled out so sparingly in some establishments? It’s a condiment for heavens sake. Bought in bulk it is no more expensive than any other kind of pepper. If I want extra pepper on my food, which if it’s cooked and seasoned properly I won’t, I will use some from the cruet selection, or ask my server / waiting staff. But not before I’ve actually taken my first bite.

Anyway, I digress. The tale of the pepper mill. Sixty plus dollars. Ten inches tall. Make, Trudeau. Inferior quality steel on the screw cap (The thread stripped when finger tightened) Uneven grain size on the grind. No better than an ornament. Looked nice but absolutely useless after two weeks serious kitchen use.

Have replaced with matching (English) Cole and Mason salt and pepper grinders last Christmas which work beautifully, produce an even grain size for seasoning, don’t lose their thread, and get this blog owners full culinary approval. They cost me fifty bucks for both and should provide years of reliable service. Not two weeks.

There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

Because it’s Friday.

As a means of an antidote to the current climate, both weather and political, I would like to introduce my last remaining reader to something deliciously food based. Specifically this YouTube channel. Seriously, the man is a carnivore Diva. From steak and kidney pies to fifteen bird roasts, all British style comfort food is here, including a few innovations of his own. Like the Pork Scratching Plait below. I’m drooling already. As he says, this is grade A food porn.

For those of you who like me aren’t moved by all the low-fat, ‘go vegetarian’ bullshit, Scott is your man for everything from butchering and reducing a whole deer or pig to delicious cuts fit to grace any decent dining table, to cooking the end result. Go visit, watch, salivate and be inspired. Don’t tell ’em I sent you.

It’s also lunch date day today, the AWD is ready, the roads clear and I’m going to treat Mrs S to a fine feed at our favourite venue. I shall also be popping over the road to the one place I’ve found on the Island that makes decent steak and kidney pies. What with the recent revelations of ‘be monitored or be fired’ which has left her quite upset and considering resigning, my (much) better half is in dire need of pampering.

There will be red wine and good stuff. Why? Because it’s Friday, and because she’s worth it.

Also delighted to hear via Head Rambles that Anna Raccoon is still alive and fighting. Of course she can’t blog any more due to her condition’s effects on her arms and hands, but we here at the Bill Sticker Institute of Shit Happens salute her and wish her well. Many thanks to the Blocked Dwarf for keeping everyone updated.

Oh yes, and another superb and simple source of recipes that isn’t a ‘big name’ sleb chef; Food Wishes. Ow my straining belt!

A thought about toxins

Paracelsus had it; “All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dosage makes a thing not poison.” Or the more widely quoted abbreviated version; “The poison is in the dose”, which as translations go is fairly loose. But yes, all substances, even water and oxygen are toxic over a certain point.

Now Mrs S works with Autistic children, and I have been trained (although I think my training is by now well out of date) to work with Autistic spectrum children, amongst a range of other mental and physical disabilities. One of the things the mainstream press do not generally tell you of course is that Autism is a description of a broad range of symptoms from mild cognitive disassociation, in the case of ‘high functioning’, where someone is a bit anti-social and nerdy to full ‘rain man’ savant and everywhere else along the IQ range. Like most things in nature, all the data points on the autism spectrum are more scatter graph than bell curve or straight line. Like with other forms of mental disorder, there is no ‘perfect’ Autistic sufferer. Including all the shades of Asperger’s.

Now two items of news are pointing to possible causes of Autism, and not the spurious study that implicated the MMR vaccine and may end up dooming children to giving birth to poor souls with ‘Rubella syndrome‘. Rubella syndrome, as the linked article explains, is caused by the mother catching measles in the first trimester (First 3 months) of pregnancy and is much, much worse than Autism. Blindness, deafness and severe behavioural disorders result, and I have personally worked with two such children in my dim and distant past. Having seen the results of such an infection, I’d say that skipping the MMR or any vaccination for that matter, is possibly the worst decision any concerned parent to be could ever make.

There are two studies which may have found a possibly credible causative factor in Autism. The first is high doses of Folic acid (Vitamin B9) during pregnancy and the second factor Vitamin D deficiency in those vital first three months when the baby’s nervous system is first developing. Anaemia during early pregnancy has also been cited as a possible causative factor, but more recent thinking is that iron deficiency sometimes found in Autistic children is a symptom rather than the cause.

Right, Folic acid is an easy one to monitor, and vitamin supplements if the pregnant mother to be is already eating lots of food rich in Folic Acid may be unnecessary or even harmful to her unborn. Current thinking favours an absolute maximum dose of 1000 micrograms (1 milligram) with 4-600 micrograms of Folic acid as ideal. Now the vitamin D deficiency issue could be linked to low fat diets immediately before and during pregnancy, because, guess what? Vitamin D (Along with A, E and K) is’Fat Soluble‘ found in ‘Fatty’ fish, like Tuna, Mackerel, and Salmon, Beef liver, Dairy produce (Including cheese) and eggs. So if a pregnant woman’s diet includes reasonable amounts of these foods, then unless she has a gastric disorder she won’t need Vitamin D supplements. Because, and here’s the kicker, tablet based supplements alone aren’t as effective as a healthy mixed diet. A broad spread of proteins, fats, minerals are good. Low fat not so much because most low fat foods are loaded with starch or gel to replace the fats. The trick is to consume the right amount. Normal metabolisms can cope with periodic small excesses during pregnancy, but not megadoses.

By the same token, the Low-fat, Vegetarian and Vegan diets we’re all continually being hectored into aren’t really ‘healthy’ in the long term because they require supplements to fill the nutrition gap. A pregnant woman needs to have been on a reasonable mixed diet prior to and during pregnancy, allowing for the strange cravings and other anomalies that occasionally come with the package. I do not apologise for the sexism in that last sentence because nature and biology are inherently ‘sexist’. It is a biological fact that only fertile females can become pregnant without some freakish work in proverbial test tubes (or more likely a Petri dish or a microscope slide). Men do not have the necessary organs to conceive and bring a fully grown foetus to term. No Ovaries, Fallopian tubes or Uterus. So there. Unless some half wit wants the risks of an Ectopic pregnancy, the insane idea of a biological male getting pregnant must remain within the annals of science fiction.

Then there are the recent revelations about vegetarian diets and too much copper. Copper, which has in the past been implicated as a prime suspect for causing Histaphenia, a form of schizophrenia. Don’t understand the finer points of the biochemistry, but the science, at least to my reading, seems sound enough, even though there are dissenting voices. So a predominantly vegetable based diet of copper rich foods can certainly play les bougres risibles with brain function development and neurotransmitters. Especially if there’s a zinc malabsorption issue. Which could partly explain the sometimes bizarre antics of those who take their diets to extreme.

Well, that’s a steak for me, and only a very small Caesar side salad thanks. I’m eating healthily.

Gifts that keep on giving

Pre festive amusement dropped into my inbox this morning about one of those products radical Vegans favour. Specifically an unfortunate effect of a product called ‘SoyLent‘, which those fans of Harry Harrisons 1966 novel ‘Make room, make room‘ will understand. The movie of the book made in 1973, brought the quote “Soylent green is made of people!” from the lips of Charlton Heston. (See YouTube clip below)

Apparently the artificial foodstuff concerned has an occasional side effect usually attributed to food poisoning. Specifically, if I may permitted the circumlocution and in the crudest of parlance, it sometimes causes ‘pebbledashing’, and if you don’t know what that unfortunate condition is, ask a grown up. No, it’s nothing to do with an architectural finish. I don’t want to paint pictures here. Although some avante-garde artists occasionally do. And make sculptures. I blame ‘care in the community‘.

Whilst veganism is a lifestyle choice, I’d argue that perhaps those radical adherents would be best minding their own business and stop trying to foist the unwanted on the unwilling portion of the populace. Like with promoting ‘foods’ predominantly made of Algae or Insect protein. Those are for dire emergency and short duration only, not as a staple part of the diet. As for ‘Food, intelligently designed’ like on the strapline of Soylent’s website, sorry, that description is misleading; it should read ‘Food substitute designed by the ideologically deranged’. Food isn’t something that should be ‘engineered’, that’s just pretentious bollocks for the gullible. Food is something that should be cooked with care and consumed with pleasure. This is one of the core values of having a life, all else is mere joyless existence.

Hi-ho, off to tag along while the girls go shopping… Think I’ll take a book.

Site update

In keeping with this sites general tone of irreverence and total disrespect for authority, apart from my wife (Sorry Dear), I’ve elected to properly codify the various recipes that are in use on a day by day basis in the Sticker household. Accessed from the main menu item labelled ‘Cooking for Conspiracy Theorists‘ I’ll be posting useful food related stuff for those of you concerned about the state of the world and wanting to eat well while the powers that be screw everything up.

Whether it’s being bombarded by news of stuff like the state of Hilary Clinton’s obviously failing health, potential election rigging in the US presidential elections, lamestream media bias, the tardiness of implementing the Brexit vote, or the various petulant ‘We didn’t get our way so we’re going to make life difficult for everyone‘ proposed measures against the UK by the EU, and the lame irrational mutterings of retarded social activists and their fantasies. I think we’d all feel much better with a hot, nourishing feed inside of us. Even if the world is, as some would like us to think, going to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Well someone’s got to think about the really important stuff like keeping properly fed. Hell, it might even be organic. Vegetarian not so much, but then you can’t have everything.

By the way. First comment moderation is currently on. Any sensible, amusing and on topic comment will be approved within twelve hours or so for you first timers. After that you’ll be free to post all you want. Hate stuff and irritating whining will probably get binned. Comments coming via anonymous proxies may not even get flagged up for moderation, as these are currently being sent straight to cyber-oblivion.