Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Poutine... An Attempt

Last week with supplies running low and little motivation to go to the shops I found myself in the lucky situation where I had as close as I was likely to get to having the ingredients to make "Poutine".

"Poutine?!?!" says you!

John Archbold, my good friend, fellow fast food enthusiast and Newbridge man in Canada, was the first to utter this word to me. A well known Canadian dish consisting of Chips (French Fries to them across the pond) topped with Cheese Curds and Gravy. Well John, that sounds like something I might wanna try!

I'd had it in my head to make Poutine for quite a while with the only problem being that cheese curds don't seem to be widely available in Ireland (I ain't ever seen 'em), with a little research I found that mozzarella cheese was the most common substitute.

Anyway with a hand full of oven chips, a little bit of mozzarella, some gravy and a bread roll I had my first bit of probably unauthentic Poutine.

I assembled it up like this which made 4 of these little Poutine open sandwiches.

I had enough left over to make a more traditional looking little plate of the stuff.

I could have done with letting the mozzarella melt up a little bit more but that was my fault because I'm an impatient bastard when it comes to food.
It's simple to make, takes only 10 minutes, is very cheap and very tasty.

I can't wait to taste the real deal whenever I manage to make my first trip to Canada... My only hope is that Poutine had nothing to do with the demise of  the greatest Canadian to ever draw breath, John Candy.

BS x

Ps. This wasn't my first attempt, one time while feeling a little adventurous in the White Water food court I bought a tub of KFC gravy and poured it over an Abra Cheese Chips. Not my finest move. I have a picture of this but trust me you don't want to see it.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Unreal Banana Bread/Cake Thing by Rionnagh Condon

On a night out down the park with a few cans and about 50 like minded souls after Stevie C's 21st party my friend Rionnagh asked me if she could do a post for the blog... I get a fair amount of people asking me if they can do this while under the influence of the demon drink and needless to say the vast majority have forgotten about it by the time the daylight and regrets have arrived... I was surprised and very glad that the very next day this arrived in my inbox! When I give this a go during the week it'll be my first attempt at baking, I seriously doubt it'll turn out anyway as good as this!

Here's the Dwight Schrute loving Rionnagh Condon...

Because promises made knacker drinking down the park should always be upheld...and all I’ve done so far today is watch far too much of The Office and consume everything in the fridge...

I discovered the amazingness of banana bread in Sydney last year.  It’s real easy to make- I never had a weighing scales when I lived in Limerick and I’m a math-tard and still it always turned out edible.
The recipe I use is kinda my own version of one from this Avoca cookbook

-80Z PLAIN FLOUR (I don’t think it matters if it’s plain or self raising. I usually use whatever’s in the house. I used wholemeal flour once  which was really lovely)
-1 T. SALT
- 1. CINNAMON (I put loads in)
-1 EGG
-4 BANANAS (I’m not sure if 4 is enough. I just keep adding it till the mixture is runny)
-HAZEL NUTS TO SPRINKLE ON TOP (Almonds or whatever is in the press works well too)

1/ Put the oven on.
2/ Put the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon into a big bowl and stir.
It should look like this:

3/  Mix in the egg and melted butter.

It should turn into something like this:

4/ Add the bananas. I find it best to cut them up into smallish pieces and mash them in with a fork.

 Not too much though because you want it sort of lumpy.

Keep adding banana till the mixture turns into a brown lumpy goo. YUM.

5/ Pour it all onto a greased baking tin.

Sprinkle the nuts on top

6/ Put it into the oven. It normally takes about 50 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you can stick a knife through the middle and it doesn’t come out covered in goo....


So mine burnt because I’d to go collect my dad from the train station. Easily fixed though by cutting off the top!

8/ ENJOY.  Preferably watching more of The Office.

Rionnagh Condon

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When you're nearly out of everything...

You'd love a tasty little snack, it's late, but after a quick look around there's feck all to eat...
There's one measly streaky rasher left, one slice of brown bread and that end piece of the block of cheese that's left there to taunt you...
oh wait, a cherry tomato at the back of the fridge... a little mayo and pepper and BOOM!!!!

BS x

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After writing this tonight about a snack I had some months ago I decided to check the kitchen for the makings again cos at 11pm I still hadn't had my dinner, well mega jackpot, everything was there in plentful supply, proper rashers this time and some rocket leaves, brilliant.

Boozey Swine gets the luck he deserves...

We've all been there, It's Saturday night, you had a few too many Strawberry Daquiri's on the Friday and now, delusionally, you're thinking you'll only go out for a couple of pints... Suddenly it's 6 o'clock in the morning, you've successfully made your way through a bag of cheap cans and are desperately trying to play along to country songs with very little success on a ukelele... Then the inevitable happens... The hunger that knows no standards rears it's ugly head.
But alas Newbridge's unsung heroes, the wonderful people of the late night fast food industry, are deservedly tucked up in bed... and that leaves only one desperate option...
The 24 hour Tesco. Good Jaysus.
With a blood alcohol level that would make it illegal for you to operate a wrist watch, yet with an odd level of calmness and clarity you wander around the grey sterile environment of Tesco hoping against hope that you're going to find a garlic cheese chips in amongst the tins of assorted luxury biscuits.

On this occasion though, I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew Tesco were more than willing to sell it to me. Burgers... Microwavable Burgers...
So there I am, with my infinitely tolerant friend and designated driver for 364 days of the year, JJ Fleming, wandering the isles looking for what I hoped would be an absolute delicacy.
There they were... Beautiful.. looking like... well.. a load of burgers to a starved drunk.

"Rustlers" seem to be the big boys in this business so I went for their quarter pounder with cheese option called "The Big One."
I grabbed a "Zugo's Chargrilled Chicken Panini" too because hey, why just get a burger when you can have a panini too?

I seem to remember years ago having one of these Rustlers burgers and thinking they were actually nice. Well let me be perfectly clear about this, I must have been fucking dreaming because I've never had anything as poxy as this pile of horse shit before in my life.
First off these burger kits pass themselves off as a self contained unit, now the wonderful picture on the cover clearly shows lettuce and onions on this burger... Well ye screwed me on that lads!!
Now I'm sure aul Mick Rustler or whoever is in charge would come out and claim these are optional extras that you can add yourself. Well Mick I don't think the type of fella who decides it's a good idea to have a microwavable burger for his dinner is the type of lad that keeps a supply of fresh salad at home.
Really dude?!
I have a stomach and tastebuds that are well used to eating the lowest forms of fast food, now add to that I hadn't eaten since the previous lunchtime, then for me to not even swallow one bite of this burger never mind not finish it is a first for me.
This yoke was just not fit for human consumption, the burger was like a lump of leather, the bun was both soggy and like rubber, however they managed that. The cheese, oh the fucking cheese, now I'm a fan of shitty cheap processed cheese slices on a burger but this was a cheese too far even for me. It had the consistency and taste of a soiled bin liner.
And then there was the "Rustler Sauce".. It pains me to think that somewhere at a time in the not too distant past there was a meeting about this sauce, plans were drawn up, recipes were devised, taste tests were done, adjustments were made and at the end of the day many backs were patted in a false sense of achievement. Well everyone involved should have been fucking fired.
The little plastic sachet of orange gloop that greeted me from beneath the slice of cheese was, and this is as kind as I can be about it, tangy. It just didnt taste like anything, I'm sure there was meant to be some kind of tomato taste in there but I couldn't find it. Really lads, what is it supposed to taste of?!

So to sum up this part of the review, because I really don't want to talk about this thing anymore:
Do not buy one of these, there's more to life. Simple.

Now thankfully the Ugo's Paninni wasn't as bad, I managed to eat most of it.
Urgh... I'm sorry, I just don't have the motivation to write nice things about these kind of sandwiches, It was chicken, cheese and a kind of pesto/mayonnaise mix in a panini and it was microwaved for a few minutes.
It was chewy, it was edible, but overall bland.
Blander than the one you payed about £11 Sterling on the Ryanair flight to some airport 75 miles from whatever city you intended to land in. (No need to thank me for the plug O'Leary).

What more is there to say?

I've learned my lesson, and I don't want to sound snobbish, because I will literally eat anything that is served to me from any fast food place in this country or any other, drunk or sober, but these are a step too far.
This is where I draw the line.

I'll try to go to bed hungry next time... doubt it though...

BS x

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Everyday Mediterranean Standard by Nathan Conway

My good friend and a musical hero of mine Nathan Conway of Thomastown and the band The T Town Bottlestoppers has done up a lovely sandwich for the blog, their new album "Run On Diesel" is out now and I can't recommend it highly enough, one of my favourite albums of this or any other year. I can't wait to make this for myself, it looks delicious... Over to you Nathan...
This sandwich marries all that is good about the Mediterranean diet. It contains no
overbearing tastes or heavy foods so today's man on the go, me, can eat it everyday
without getting sick of it. You will finish this sandwich feeling refreshed and ready
for action.
Little French stick, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Parma ham, Rocket, Pepper, Mayonnaise.

The ingredients are very reasonably priced and all available from Lidl.

Cook the bread as directed and leave to stand for two minutes after cooking. Slice it
open and pull out the doughy middle. This stuff is no good for you.

Slice up half a ball of mozzarella and lay it on. For those of you unfamiliar with this
lovely cheese, submerge the other half in a cup of water in your fridge to keep it fresh
for next time.

Don't be stingy with the pepper.

Now lay on the Parma Ham. Do not use old school ham as a substitute. You may
notice from the picture that I have removed some fat from the ham. Apply your own
judgement here.

Lay on the tomatoes, sliced. No need for salt here, the Parma ham is salty enough.
You may also notice here that I have cut the little green bit from the tomato. The wife
would never serve up a sandwich with these in it, that's why I married her.

Rocket. Not lettuce. Throw on a healthy amount.

So as not to disturb the layout, spread the mayonnaise on the inside of the other half
of the bread.

N.B. If this were a packed lunch be sure to arrange the ingredients so as to isolate
tomato, mayonnaise and possibly, mozzarella from the bread. To avoid sogginess the
best solution would be ham and rocket towards the outsides.

Cut it diagonally for classiness. Serve with a cup of tea or some crisps (King) on the
side if you have any. You may see here that I'm giving myself an expensive Lindt
chocolate for desert.

Nathan Conway

Here's a song by the man himself...

"Run On Diesel" by The T Town Bottle Stoppers is available now from Top Twenty Newbridge, Rollercoaster Kilkenny and the pubs of Thomastown, also available for download on iTunes.

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