Posts from February 2004

Feb 04

Snax part 3917: Curried Bean Toast

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Snax part 3917: Curried Bean Toast

This is easier to make than the “curry in a hurry” recipe I posted yonks ago. You mix a can of baked beans in tomato sauce with a spoon raisins and a teaspoon of green curry. While you heat the beans, you toast two slices of bread spread with (olive) butter. Then you slap the bean mix between the slices and, PRESTO, you have dinnah!

Two important facts about peanut brittle:

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Two important facts about peanut brittle: 1.) It is easy to make great peanut brittle. 2) It is easy to make terrible peanut brittle.

To make the great stuff, boil together three cups of sugar, one cup of light corn syrup, and one-half cup water. USE A CANDY THERMOMETER. While it’s heating up, butter a one-half sheet pan. At 230 degrees F (soft ball), add three cups of raw peanuts and a generous pinch of salt, and stir the mixture constantly as it cooks. At 300F (hard crack), add three tablespoons of room-temperature butter and turn off the heat. Quickly stir in a generous tablespoon of vanilla extract, then three teaspoons of baking soda. When the soda is mixed in and the whole thing is a big foamy mass, quickly turn it out onto the buttered sheet pan and tilt the pan so the corners fill in. Let it cool, and all that’s left is the breaking up and the eating.

To make terrible peanut brittle, follow the above directions exactly during humid weather. The sugar crystals will seize all available water vapor right out of the air, and you’ll be left with a nasty product that is sticky to the touch, not entirely brittle, and guaranteed to get in your teeth and never go away. Make this during clear, cloudless days and you’ll have a great candy that will melt in your mouth after the first crunch with caramelly, roasty-peanutty, buttery goodness. The perfect sweet for chocolate-haters.

Exotic indelicacies #1: Super Piratos

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Exotic indelicacies #1: Super Piratos

The horse sausage was indeed fried and eaten, and very good it was too, though the meal’s success relied on the addition of a small amount of super-zingy red chilli relish. As part of the transaction which saw me cooking horse sausage in a flat in Victoria, I was given a packet of SUPER PIRATOS: little black discs of ‘lakrids’, which I assume means liquorice. If only my translating skills had lingered long enough for me to ponder the meaning of another word featuring prominently on the packet: saltlikrids…

Now I like trying unfamiliar foods from strange lands. Don’t we all? And we all love pirates, right? Right. So how could a packet of Danish Haribo products which look like Pontefract cakes be wrong? They’re called SUPER PIRATOS! They have a picture of a pirate on the front! And the pirate’s parrot is saying ‘EN GO’ ST’RK LAKRIDS TIL ALLE LAKRIDS-ELSKERE’, which I don’t understand, of course. It had never occurred to me that parrots could speak any language other than English.

It is my solemn duty to tell you: SUPER PIRATOS are the worst thing I have ever tasted. Sharper readers may have guessed that something labelled ‘saltlikrids’ may involve liquorice and salt, and they would be spot on. These little black doubloons are extraordinarily strong, acrid lumps of badness, all salty and sour. Imagine Mighty Imps pickled in brine and served up in 50p-sized lumps and you may be getting somewhere near. My eyes watered, the taste wouldn’t leave my poor mouth. I’m shuddering now just thinking about them.

more updating

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more updating

The rabbit has been cooked now – he/she got fried and then casseroled in cider, along with lots of carrots and some fennel, onion and red pepper – num num. Fiddly to eat though, the main meat of a rabbit seems to be a barrel of meat right under the rib cage, a chicken like texture but a meatier taste. The juices though – oh my they were great, so savoury.

I understand the horse sausage was like a mild pepperoni, ie it had less of a kick…arf!

Some people might say that I deserved exactly what I got

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Some people might say that I deserved exactly what I got when I decided to go and see an Argentinian Lesbian Road Movie. And for the first forty five minutes of Suddenly, I would have to agree with them. Despite the pleasingly grainy black and white footage, it consisted of two millitant lesbians (so millitant they denied being lesbians) propositioning and then kidnapping a lingerie store saleswoman at knifepoint. Casual pointless voilence, and meaningless eliptical converations were the order of the day as our Mao and Lenin (oh yes) hit the road in a stolen taxi. ie – it was pretty shit.

And then, we get to Lenin’s aunties house. Aunties don’t really fit in violent, radical feminist chic lesbian road movies, and it showed here. The film started to be come sweet. Relationships sprung up, floundred and some semblance of real social interactions flared up. It became interesting. And then it ended. Suddenly. The end is the point of the films name I suppose, but also robbed the film of its warmth, reminding you of the nonsensical opening yet again, where the revolution amounted to smoking in Burger King. I deserved what I got.

Club Freaky Trigger

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Club Freaky Trigger is back on the 24th March. We haven’t got a flyer yet, it will be posted here in due course. The venue is the Chapel Bar in Islington, free entry, 4 hours of fine pop, etc etc. There are two especially good things about this Club FT though.

– it has a THEME! (Or a GIMMICK! you might say) The 24th March 2004 is also the 20th anniversary of the kids in The Breakfast Club doing detention. So the theme of Club FT is 80s vs 00s. DJs will be interpreting this however they want – in my case this is going to mean a track from the 80s next to its ‘equivalent’ from now. (Suggestions welcome of course.) It is also possible that some people will be wearing funny clothes.

– it’s the start of FT’s 5th Birthday celebrations, which will be bookended with 2 club nights (details of the second TBA) and will involve all sorts of online excitement. It’s also the day after my 31st birthday for what that’s worth.

See you there (I hope).

Feb 04

Great Words In Science Number One: Martingale

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Great Words In Science Number One: Martingale

In modern probability theory, a martingale is a random process which has an expected value equal to its current value. So if you are betting on someone flipping a coin over and over again and you are given fair 50/50 odds, your winnings constitute a martingale. It’s a totally unpredictable process, but in the long term your winnings are liable to go up as much as they go down. You can expect to finish with what you started with. (The idea of “expectation” has a rigorous definition but it means pretty much what you’d expect. Hey, that’s brilliant.)

In the non-mathematical world, the word refers variously to the gambling strategy where you double your stake if you lose (you can at least see the probability connection here), a bit of horse-riding kit to attach the reins to the saddle girth, and some sort of nautical stay or cleat to fasten some sprit or jib. But according to Rabelais’s Gargantua it refers to a naughty pair of hose which fasten at the back. Rabs refers to “…the martingale fashion of breeches, wherein is a spunghole with a drawbridge for the more easy caguing.”

My OED proffers these facts helplessly for the layman to ponder. If any readers can discover the connection between these meanings then please let the compilers know. You might also tell them they’ve left out “caguing”.

Science Questions Yr Sister Asks You

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Science Questions Yr Sister Asks You (That You Don’t Know The Answer To):

“What does the word ‘turbo’ mean when it’s on a packet of disposable razors?”

Now, I know I was blathering on about this in the pub last night,

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Now, I know I was blathering on about this in the pub last night, but it really does need blogging. The second best thing about “The Ultimate Popstar” on Channel 4 last Sunday was Shakin’ Stevens being in the top 15 best selling singles artists in the UK ever. The best thing about the programme was that, for no discernable reason, over the credits they played 30 seconds of STAY YOUNG by ULTRASOUND, which I had forgotten all about and was more than glad to hear again (for the youngsters out there, ultrasound were THE BEST NEW BAND IN BRITAIN from january to june 1998, until they released their album which was rubbish prog) . Here is an interview with them from the glory days (which I finally found by searching for ultrasound indie tiny).

The programme itself was quite interesting, in comparison to all the other top 100-type shows that C4 knock out, because it was based on REAL HARD FACTS about single sales, rather than whatever hive mind idiocy causes GREASE of all things to be voted best musical ever ever and also they dispensed almost entirely with z-listers “what were we on”ing and stuck with the artists involved (oh, and abba’s rhythm section), a handful of other songwriters/producers (ashford and simpson, dionne warwick, JELLYBEAN) and a few decent hacks (morley, patterson, mick wall for the rockier stuff). Strangely, it is the only programme that was on on Sunday that has no further information on the channel 4 website…

Feb 04

Juicy quotes:

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Juicy quotes:

The reviewer died of boredom while attempting to find interesting lines from this book.

MACROECONOMICS Olivier Blanchard.

Okay, so the link between ‘economics’ and ‘science’ is pretty thin. But here we have it: the cover appears to depict the planet Earth as a gear with several other, presumably economics-related gears turning it, which conjures up some rather disturbing economics-God-complex implications. The book passes the glossy paper and color standards, but fails miserably on the level of the text, which is dry, boring, and deep-sleep-approaching-death inducing. Large portions of this book could probably be read with near-lethal doses of legal and illegal stimulants. It will also probably depress the gentle reader to know that the word ‘people’ is used perhaps twice in the entire 600-page or so wasteland of bad derivations.

Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars.