Tag Archives: Food

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.

The randomness of existence

Illness in our little clan has reared its head once more, with eldest having a close brush with Malaria two weeks shy of her Australian residential / work permit medical. Brother in law looks to be on the mend, although post-op he’s looking a bit tattered and torn. This has also been a frustrating time because Mrs S and I have debated flying off to Africa on a rescue mission, but then deciding we’d be as much good as a chocolate teapot, because the medics at the hospital in question gave Eldest the most up to date treatment for the Malaria parasite, which has now been purged from her system. Like brother in law, she’s looking a bit worse for wear when we talk to her on Skype, but give her another forty eight hours and she’s going to be fine. Brother in law will take a bit longer because his condition was a direct hit on his lymphatic system. However, he is too robust and will recover quickly because if I know him, it would take a small thermonuclear device to put him down. This is good, because his Australian immigration medical is scheduled for November I think, and he and my other sister in law have worked too hard to fall at the final hurdle.

What else? I managed to piss off junior sister in law this weekend because I gave brother in law a small bag of birthday goodies we’d picked up in our trans american travels. She’d have been just as pissed off at me if I hadn’t, but I’ve learned that as far as she’s concerned, I’m always in a lose-lose scenario. Apparently I’m to blame for everything from her older sister, Mrs S, not calling her precisely on time because junior sister in law has such a busy schedule and never answers the phone herself anyway. Or some other minor inconvenience because I had the temerity to marry into ‘her’ family. Not middle class enough I think. Or as one of my cousins remarked, having met her briefly when Mrs S and I got married. “Lady Muck.”

At home I’m trying to steer clear on the subject of the US Presidential elections because although I’m not necessarily pro-Trump, I just feel he’s a much better bet than Clinton. While Mrs S disagrees, having swallowed the narrative being fed to the public via the lamestream. Why do I feel this way? Because I’m betting that Clinton will be no better than Obama, whose presidency now looks like it will only leave scorched earth behind it. Clinton, from what I can see is in hock to special interests and overseas influences as well as the big dark question mark over FBI investigations (It’s not just the emails, folks) and what seems to be a serious health problem that will directly impact on her ability to adequately fulfil the role of US President. Anyone remember the premise of Ivan Reitman’s amusing political fantasy movie ‘Dave‘? Where a cynical and corrupt US President (Republican of course) is replaced with an underachieving lookalike after suffering a massive stroke, who ironically turns out to be a better president than the real deal.

Yet could life end up mimicking art? Because I still think Clinton will win the Presidency because she’s bought and sold. Every dirty trick in the electoral book will be brought to bear upon her behalf, and like the scheming fictional Queen Cersei the throne of the west will be hers.

Although I hope she won’t win the election because instead of representing the US population, she only represents her own interests and those of big business and foreign donors. It seems that this is not an opinion that is uncommon. As I’ve said before, we toured through twenty three States on our big US road trip in May and June, and saw plenty of support for all the other hopefuls, but not one lawn sign, bumper sticker, banner or advertisement supporting Clinton. Most of the overt support we saw was for Bernie Sanders, with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz banners coming in second. There was even a John Kasich billboard up in Utah, but nary a one for Clinton. Which tells me one thing; popular support won’t win this election. Big money will. Just like for Bush and Obama.

Anyway. More important things have been done, like getting my recipe for dry garlic salt and peppered pork ribs right. It’s so easy it’s ridiculous. A pound of frozen pork back ribs. Rub with a lick of Olive Oil. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder to taste. Give it a quick rub, sprinkle with black pepper, set the oven at about 325-350 Fahrenheit (Gas Mark 3 or 180 Celsius). Stick the rack of ribs in a roasting pan, put in oven and leave for ninety five minutes. Switch oven off after time is up. Remove ribs and leave out to cool. Or if you’re feeling brave, eat while they’re piping hot. “Do not change this recipe. It’s evil.” Says Mrs S.

Well, far be it from me…. Good or bad it’s all part of the randomness of existence.

Coffee envy

While others have been indulging in less than salutary pastimes like killing priests in Parish Churches (For which they were quite rightly shot dead on the spot), I have been indulging in a little friendly comment spat with Leg-Iron over at his place. It began with a surrealist video of a man being offered German coffee which ended up being solid in his cup. Which is a great way of making sure you can’t spill any.

Now I drink a lot of coffee. Good basic home ground Columbian, none of your pre-ground or (Horrified shudder) ‘instant’ coffee which I wouldn’t use, even to clean drains. Just over a pint (usually a gnats wossname under 500ml) each morning. See picture of my two mainly used coffee mugs below. The big NYPD mug holds around 750ml. Maybe a little more, and the yellow Cornwall mug on the right holds about 500ml, just over a pint or slightly under half a litre. Coffee mugs As proof, I filled each mug with water and decanted into the nearest measuring jug. The little Espresso cup in the middle is there simply to give an idea of scale and add an element of cuteness.

My morning coffee ritual is as follows; around half past eight I grind the beans in my conical burr grinder. Clean and load my percolator. Fire it up and just over five minutes later pour out my morning ration. Coffee stuff Not bitter like the stuff sold by Farcebucks, but smooth and muscular in the Canadian style. The flip side of which is where Mrs S is sometimes moved to remark after seeing that I’ve dashed off a significant part of my workload before 8am; “You did all that without coffee?” To which I give a knowing smile, knowing that providing there’s not too much blood in my caffeine stream I will be in reasonable humour until around three pm. Unlike the two priest-killers now deservedly roasting in hell. Along with all their other fellow travellers.

So…

Another day, another picnic. Today I have prepared Tacos and Southern Fried (In my case baked) chicken. Previous taste tests have been positive, so I’m sticking with the tried and trusted today.

Anyway; what’s new out in the wider world?

I see 50,000-odd (Some odder than others) people have been marching against Democracy in London. By comparison; London February 15th 2003, around 750,000 protested against the Iraq war. Didn’t make a spit of difference. 50,000 by comparison, some of whom (If you read the text) are not UK citizens and therefore not eligible to vote in a UK referendum, making the protest a mere drop in the ocean. Not that the anti-Iraq war protests really achieved anything. Blair still committed the UK’s armed forces. 50,000? As the French would say; “Call that a march? It’s not even a Janvier – pff”

Similarly; Mrs S’s Open University course on the EU is proving lively, with a great many sceptical voices in the forums. It’s an online course with people from as far away as Brazil and New Zealand taking part. She tells me that only one pro-EU voice spoke out to indulge in a single trollish ad hominem attack against everyone else, which was promptly ignored. I think the person who made the bitter remark subsequently left the course in a huff as they haven’t been heard from since. Or possibly even huff a minute. (Ouch. Sorry, I’ll get me coat)

Over here the Postal workers are going on strike next week. I will be using UPS myself for important documentation. They get my packages and letters where needed on time every time. Not in three bloody weeks (For Air mail no less!) I have some important legal documents to go to the UK next week and am not entrusting sensitive documents to Canada Post. I can’t afford to muck around either as Mrs S and I are off to a conference on Wednesday and have to get stuff notarised and sent before then. Costs me a hundred and fifty bucks a time for notarising and sending, but as the deal is time sensitive it’s worth the expense.

It’s also National Fishing Week. Which I’m going to miss this year (Again!). Never mind, when I’m back home on the 12th I intend to cast my cares on the waters regardless of whether there’s a festival or not.