Monday, May 19, 2014

Late Night Fast Food: A Plea For Reason and Sanity

The system is broken and we don't even realise there's a problem.
Green to me means go, proceed, etc... This is confusing.

Let me bring something to your attention.
Two occasions in the last month have made me realise that we can do better as a society.
The first time was one night when I was walking home at approximately 1.20am, not hungry or looking for a snack, just listening to a few tunes when a car pulled in beside me and in a panicked fashion the driver asked me was there anywhere they would get food. This being a Tuesday or Wednesday night I told them they'd have to make do with whatever they could get from the 24 hour garage. She pleaded "But is there no takeaways open?!?!", my heart sank a little as I had to crush that last little ounce of hope she was clinging to.

Only one week later I was in a strangely similar predicament, this time I was starving, but I already knew the answer. At least my brain knew, my stomach wanted to believe another story. Leaving work just after 1am, a Wednesday night, I knew there was nowhere open, that 4 packets of crisps and a loaf of whatever bread was left in the 24 hour would be my only solace.

Crisp sandwiches are exceptionally difficult to construct on the walk home.

But what the gut wants, the gut wants: Fried Chicken. I emerged onto the Main St. to some kind of shit version of Las Vegas. The place lit up like a bonfire of cheap neon.
I knew the chippers were closed. The chippers knew the chippers were closed. Were they dressed accordingly? Not a chance. If I see lights, I think open for business. Chippers would claim they leave lights on for advertising. It's a sick and twisted act of temptation; shining a light on what you cannot have, illuminating the empty chasm of your stomach.

Chippers you're doing yourselves absolutely no favours. Here's a simple rule of thumb;

If it's late enough that you're closed, anybody who is out in public wants fast food. 

Your brightly lit beacons of disappointment are pissing people off. Nobody sees them and thinks "oh, maybe I'll get food from there tomorrow"...
Their only thought is "Chicken skin. Now".

Now I'm not one to go ranting about this seemingly trivial problem without presenting a solution. And my proposed solution is twofold.

1. The Traffic Light System.
Chippers want to advertise at all hours of the day and night as is their right and are highly unlikely to change that policy after hearing the ravings of a guy with a nickname like mine. What I propose is a lighting system, just like traffic lights. Green for open. Red for closed. Maybe even an orange light to signal that they're on their last orders and you better get there sharpish. Their name is still illuminated, just in one very clear colour.

Just so we're absolutely clear: THIS IS  ALL WRONG.

That solves that problem. If there's a simpler or more rational way to fix this issue I'm all ears.

This has no relevence to this story other than it being a tray of sauces that looks like a traffic light.

2. Rotating Mandatory Takeaway Opening.
Just like pharmacies rotate which ones open late at night or on a Sunday, chippers should be made do the same as a form of service to the people of their respective town. At a quick count, just using Newbridge as an example, I can think of at least 8 takeaways on the Main St. that if they took it on a one week rotating basis they'd each only have to open late (until 7am the next morning, when hot deli counters start opening) about 6 weeks a year. Hike up the prices 10, 20, even 25% to cover staff and security costs, we wouldn't care. The business generated would be minimal, I know, but think of the smile that'd be put on the face of the person coming off the late shift in work who can't face another Pot Noodle sandwich or the happy drunk stumbling home from a few late cans in a mates house who wants the last mile of his journey home to be spent trying to solve the puzzle of how to dip a large battered burger into a tub of curry sauce. It'd bring happiness to the hearts of everyone involved. Again in conjunction with the 'Traffic Light System' identifying which chipper is on the late night opening would be simple. 

Lets not stop the Traffic Light System there though, put it into play within bars and niteclubs for people who, unlike me, aren't so acutely aware of last order times.

I'm only trying to make this country a better place for all of us. If you agree with what I've said please forward this not only to your local Chippers & Takeaways, but now in this time of elections, send it to your local politicians imploring them to put this system into law where it rightly belongs.


Giz a like or a follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chocolate, Banana and Raspberry Milkshake

I had a few "Monday Pints? Be Grand" last night. Now while I was far from suffering from a hangover, my tastes were a little off kilter this morning. So after the chicken curry, chicken balls and chips that I had for breakfast I was in the humour for making a milkshake at home. One of the by products of the few pints, while I'm still not conceding it being a symptom of a hangover, was having absolutely zero interest in reading instructions on how to make a milkshake or measuring out the quantities involved...

So I gathered up what I had....

...and fired 'some' of each into the blender...

I've made a terrible mistake.

I immediately knew I had put in too much milk so I compensated by upping the ice cream, chocolate and raspberry content. It eventually ended in me adding 3/4 of the entire tub of ice cream to bring it to any sort of a milkshake consistency. 

Glass 1...

It was quite nice, considering I had to drink the best part of a litre of the stuff. 

Next time it'll be less milk and I'll be making it later in the evening so I can justify firing a few lashes of Bailey's into it. That'd be the business.

As a quick aside I've been making a few smoothies lately...
Milk, plain yoghurt, a banana and frozen blueberries. It's a quality drink.

A drop of Bacardi will give it a lift if consuming after 6pm. 

Now I've tried this lad with a spoon of peanut butter thrown into the mix and while not bad I feel it best to treat peanut butter as you would a fine whiskey, ingested only neat, unsullied by the creations of God or men.


Giz a like or a follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Saturday, May 10, 2014

'Beans & Peas' Fish and Chips Burger

Credit where credit is due; England, you do a fine chip and your near insistence to pair them with mushy peas is one I commend. If only there was a sword and an elderly lady big enough that the entire landmass of your country could be rewarded with an honour, albeit with the usual disregard for health and safety present at these ceremonies, for such a feat...

I'm just back from a quick midweek visit to Manchester to see that sporting institution that have been inflicting hardship on me for the last year and being that I was in a tender state from the previous weekend I ended up medicating myself with a load of shite food. A lot of which consisted of chips and mushy peas.

Still in the humour for this brand of shite when I got home and being as predictable as a politician, I thought SANDWICH. Ok, well, I've called this a burger but it's all the bleedin' one.

I wanted something with a little more kick than just Fish & Chips & Peas in bread though...
I decided to add beans into the mix.
A process which would also answer the question of whether mushy peas and beans would make the absolute world-explodingly amazing combination that I'd always hope they would.
But I was never going with plain beans. I'm too far gone for that shit now. Beans for me have to at least have Tabasco Sauce and cheese mixed through them. I've wasted so much of my bean eating life not eating beans like this that to even think about it brings my mood down. No point crying over plain beans though. I decided to take it up another notch and add scallions to the beans as well.

I went with a bit of Donegal Catch Cod and some skinny French Fries for the main event in the burger and in keeping with the English theme I got some Marks & Spencer's burger buns. I've said it before, they do the best mainstream bread rolls available in Ireland. I used 2 buns for this and tried keeping them from tearing apart, but it in the end it made little difference.

Clockwise from the top left you can see I loaded on the beans, which were dosed up with about 15 drops of Tabasco Sauce, a quarter block of cheese and 2 finely chopped scallions. A good dose of rocket was put on as a bed for the cod and the other side was given the mushy peas and chips treatment before it was all closed up.

It goes without saying that you're not going to just stick on about 10 chips for this, and you'll have a load of beans and peas left over so...

This was good. This could open up a whole new avenue of dirty fish burgers to me. I had contemplated putting some Tabasco or cheese into the peas but having not tested this before I wisely left it to the beans to shoulder that burden and it worked great. I'll super charge mushy peas another day. 
Traditionalists might not agree with my choice of skinny chips but there was method to my madness. Using large hand cut chips in a burger or sandwich doesn't, in my experience, work when there are other ingredients fighting for your attention. The potato is a loud and obnoxious creature, who while having very little to say wants to be heard over everyone else. Small doses are key. 
I've very little to say about beans and mushy peas. They work. It's beautiful to witness. I plan on being the awkward third wheel at many of their future dates. 

All in all I was very impressed; the bread was delicious, I just gave it a little toast so it'd stand up to the pressure, the rocket balanced everything out in a position where I was contemplating a third sauce, but it didn't need that. Scallions first appearance in a beans jersey went very well, a solid performance and definitely one with a bright future in this game. Purists would argue that I should have had a proper chip shop slab of fish but I found the variety I used much more up to the task, great strength and an optimal batter to fish ratio for sandwich use.
At the end of the day this was a very convincing win. My insides are the only injury but are expected to make a full recovery and be back in light training by Tuesday morning.

Boozey Swine

Giz a like or a follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter