gominokouhai: (Default)

Spare a thought please, this Yuletide season, for Jehane's family. I know them and I know that they're putting a brave face on it. But a table has four sides: and there's no way to set a table for christmas dinner without a big, glaring, empty gap where your daughter should be.

I wonder if I should phone them, polite friendly call to wish them well, or whether I'm too close to the problem and I'd make it worse.

~

Roastin a ham just now, and once that's out of the oven the pheasant is goin in. The brine this year is ginger, orange juice (oranges left over from sazeracs), and rum. And too much bicarbonate of soda. Usually I use bicarb to wash my hair, so I have a giant jar of it with a huge spoon, and hence my quantities were off. Or perhaps not. I'll know in a couple of hours.

I also have sausagemeat stuffing, sossinges with bacon wrapped round, potatoes, and parsnips and sweet potatoes that I'mma roast with a maple glaze. I am fully aware that I live on my own, but circumstances should never stifle genius. Fortunately, I'm fond of sandwiches.

Also, it's cold enough in this flat that I don't need to keep any of the leftovers in the fridge. The counter will be just fine.

~

Merry christmas all. Now get back to work or I'll belt your nut in.

On singledom

Sat, Aug. 29th, 2015 21:43
gominokouhai: (Default)

Things I've had to get used to very fast:

  1. Buying single pints of milk.
  2. A relatively tidy flat. Holy crap she had a lot of shit lying around.
  3. No longer being able to say: here are your photos, please just let me know if you'd like any of them touched up. My photoshop expert has disappeared.
  4. No more cooking. There's no point putting on an epic spread for just one person. My shrink said: why not just do it for the fun of it? and I said: there's no point if you're not showing off to someone. I mostly live on ready meals these days.
  5. That said, I am now allowed to own proper vinegar instead of that balsamic shit.
  6. And I can have the radio on now.
  7. Bookshelf space!
  8. Fridge full of beer!

I was in the shop today, buying individual-person supplies as I am now wont to do. Single pint of milk. One of those mini-cartons of four eggs. 400g loaf of bread. Cigarettes and a couple of bottles of beer to numb the pain. Scanning it all, the checkout girl said: you live alone, don't you?

Why yes, said I, how could you tell?

She said, Because you're an ugly bastard.

gominokouhai: (Inspector Fuckup)

I am a fucking genius.

The downsides of living in at work are many and multifarious. For a start, I don't get a day off unless I unplug the phone and refuse to leave the flat—when I will invariably be faced by staff on the way out who have questions. Most recently I spent 42 days at work without a break, and while there were technically one or two days in there when I was not on the rota, I don't count it as a day off if I get eight phone calls within three hours. Just now I had a longish weekend that I took seriously, and today it was back into the fray.

(That worked well. Rocked up all refreshed and ready to go at 9am—okay, 09:20, but I was aiming for 09:30 so I STILL WIN—and relieved $DM so she could get her breakfast. She'd been at work since 3pm the preceding day. (When I take a weekend seriously, I take it seriously.) I'll take the phone, said I, no need to fear, daddy's back. I may or may not have said the last bit out loud. Within thirty seconds I took a phone call from guests who'd just checked in, which went thuswise: Hello, we booked a small double room online, and we've just arrived and are surprised to find that it's quite small. We were told that you had big rooms. Yes. We do. But you didn't book one of those. Welcome back to work, pajh.)

On the other hand, the benefits of living at work include, but are not limited to—actually no wait, they are pretty much limited to—that between the hours of 7am and 11pm I have a captive audience upstairs (also known as "my direct employees") for whatever I choose to rant about, or, once or twice a week, as guineapigs.

I may or may not be a good hotel manager. But I'm the kind of hotel manager who will (frequently) run up to his staff with a glass of booze in each hand, and cry: QUICK, TASTE THIS—WHICH ONE IS BETTER?

Anyway, I pulled this on $DM last week with the experimental jehane, and it must have gone pretty well, since I let her organize the staff social for this coming Friday, and she wants to bring everybody back to my bar so I can make them cocktails. We don't even serve most of this stuff in my bar, and I'm damned if I'm bringing everyone down to my kitchen.

Anyway. I invented the jehane, and I have since (not because of peer pressure or anything) perfected it. A post like this really deserves pictures, so I apologize for there not being any, but this can be remedied if there is sufficient demand. This is how you make a jehane:

Recipe, with occasional digressions )

It is marvellous and I am a genius.

I'm calling it the jehane because it's sweet, it's refreshing, it involves a little bit of fire up top, and it's never bloody available inna bar when you want one.

#telt

Fri, May. 8th, 2015 22:29
gominokouhai: (Default)

We did what we set out to do: punish the Lib-Dems and Scottish Labour for siding with the enemy. Democratically, of course. And we got exactly the worst possible outcome as a result: trounced Labour and handed a majority to the bloody Tories.

It's a pretty slim majority, and I understand that the Tories have a long tradition of backbench rebellion, so a coalition of the Left still has a chance to keep the bastards on their toes. For that to happen, the Lib Dems and Labour need to demonstrate that they've learned their lessons from last night.

I suppose we got exactly what we deserved: more work! It's the SNP's job just now to speak truth to power, as the largest effective voting block of human beings currently in Parliament. Labour have more seats than the SNP, but they'll be a complete waste of space until they decide what the point of them is—and that's assuming they even decide to be on the left. They certainly haven't been for the last twenty years. And the Lib Dems are dead for a generation.

Also—let's be honest—some of these new SNP MPs are going to suck, at least for the next while. Nearly all of them are brand new and most of them, when they were listed as candidates, were in seats where they didn't have a hope. That all changed and now they're in charge. Nicola will sort them out; I've met her and she's awesome.

~

Gotta say, I am amused at the huge amount of nothing that was eventually signified by all of Ukip's sound and fury. I am willing to put good money on the fact that not a single one of those 3,881,129 Kippers voted Yes in the AV referendum. One seat they managed under FPTP: no pasaran.

~

Yesterday was a 33-hour workday that started at 1pm on Wednesday and continued through until 10pm on the Thursday: the ninety minutes sleep I got in the middle doesn't really count. I finally got off to sleep at 3am and then the bloody taxi driver rang the doorbell at 03:30. Got back to sleep at about fiveish and then was up again for work at six. At some point on Thursday, I got to see Jehane for a whole ten minutes and I managed to make it around the corner to vote. During that 33 hours, $CHEF had made me a bacon sandwich. It wasn't a good day.

I'm still not keen on the SNP. They're too authoritarian for my liking, too nanny-statish, and I disagree with a hell of a lot of their policies. I don't like the way they cosy up to people like Murdoch and Souter and especially—euch—Trump. (Maybe they'll stop doing that so much now.) Ideologically I appear to be a Green— but only a Scottish Green because the party in England and Wales is still stuffed full of anti-science nutjobs. Yesterday, the SNP were the only left-leaning party with a hope in hell, so my vote was obvious. Also I did it to piss off everyone in England. I'd had enough of all the hysterical pearl-clutching anti-Jock media coverage. You're welcome, England. You brought this on yourselves.

So, having cast my vote for the SNP and finally able to tear myself away from the desk at 10pm, it was off down the chippy for a haggis supper, salt an' sauce, anna boatil ay the Bru. I had no particular political motivations for my order—sometimes a man just needs salt an'sauce—but it seemed appropriate. I think I might have gone native.

Yesterday was the first time I've ever voted when the result has actually gone my way. I suspect I shouldn't get accustomed to it.

The next five years are going to be bleak. Look after your loved ones.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Off down south tomorrow for a company meeting. I went to the bank today and withdrew £20 in Scottish fivers, because I want to piss them off. The bank teller had never heard that one before—seriously? I honestly thought everyone did that—and told me I'd made his day.

All set for this goddamn nine-hour train journey tomorrow. Gots my sound-isolating earphones, emergency Irn Bru (can't buy it down there), emergency whisky (Islay Mist, won't react with the metal in the hunt flask), gots my vindictively pan-European sandwich, and my instructions for haxx0ring free train wifi. Spent some time with [personal profile] stormsearch perfecting my Scots accent.

Michael Mcintyre has this bit that he does about, every time someone wants to spend a Scottish banknote, some mad Scotsman pops up from nowhere and shouts don't you know that's legal tender. It's funny because it's true, and not, I hasten to add, because Michael makes any effort to make it funny in any way. He crams this bit in to any set he can. Heard a Scots accent on my way to the theatre tonight. Reminded me of that guy who says: don't you know that's legal tender . And off he goes again.

[personal profile] stormsearch is not a qualified voice coach and her instructions have been sporadically helpful, but with her experience combined with my voice-talent nollij, we made headway. The word £ is a particularly difficult word to say in Scots. There's an argument that it's pronounced poouwnd and another, equally legitimate, argument that it should be pronounced pnd, and both of these should be done simultaneously, while also pronouncing the ou as an ai except that it's really more of an eh but do it with your face all scrunched up like this. I got there eventually. As is so often the case with learning experiences in my life, whisky helped.

Thus, I am now ready to have the following exchange, should it be necessary, with an unsuspecting southerner:

Good day to you, shopkeep, and what a marvellous day it is indeed. I would like to purchase this bottle of Coca-Cola® if you'd be so kind. What's that? You doubt the authenticity of my cash monies? Well, dear shopkeep, I do so regret that it must come to this, but I fear you leave me little option but to go Full Scotsman on you. Ahem. DON'T YOU KNOW THAT'S LEGAL TENDER, that's a five pooouwnd note ya wee numpty, huv ye no seen a five pnd note before ya great sassenach.

Interesting, perhaps, to note that, although I am a trained voiceover artist and a remarkably good one, it's only been since this week that I've been able to pronounce sassenach with the appropriate amount of sass.

And I know there's no such thing as legal tender, but the unsuspecting southerner won't.

gominokouhai: (Inspector Fuckup)

I've had a bloody awful day, started badly at 0730 (exactly) and got steadily worse from there, has only now started to wind down a bit at 2330. I had a manhattan or two when I finished work at 2100, but what I really needed was a sazerac, and I now finally have one. Well, sort of.

A proper sazerac requires orange peel and acquiring same would mean climbing two flights of stairs to pick up an orange. This is clearly work for chumps, so I have substituted the usual Peychaud's (which I have, of course, ready to hand in the kitchen) for Angostura orange bitters and dubbed the result the ersatzzerac. The good-quality rye whiskey, cognac, gomme (home-made, natch) and absinthe mist I obviously had ready to hand in the kitchen. The orange was the tricky part.

Also this evening, unrelatedly, but possibly illustratively: I walked for ten minutes to buy cigarettes that I don't even smoke any more.

I am also using slightly the wrong sort of glass for a sazerac. This matters.

I may as well just buy a fedora and have done with it. Actually that's not true. I already own two fedoras: one vintage, one that actually fits my head, and both of them I owned before fedora shaming became a thing. They are currently in storage. I had them when fedoras were still classy. Yes I am 150 years old. Shut up.

(The sazerac is also 150 years old, and it is delicious, so shut up.)

And before any of you make the obvious jibe that the fedora was never cool: I'm just going to leave this here.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Experienced my first anti-Scottish racism on Wednesday. I've lived in Scotland for fourteen years now and have experienced plenty of anti-English racism; usually from people in bars who were on my side while England were playing Germany but then, ninety seconds after the final whistle blows, decide to call me an English cunt. Oh how we laughed. Feels odd to be on the other side of it, but not entirely unexpected.

On the train down to That London, through That London, and out the other side Dorset-bound. I am pretty much a London expert now. The first time I went down there as an adult I spent the first day simply riding around the integrated transport system in awe. I thought that having a Lobster card would be creepy, RFID and all that, but it turns out to be fantastically useful—look at me, ma! I can go anywhere! They even have boats!

By now I just huff and glare at the other passengers and catch the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square and then transfer onto the Northern Line to Waterloo without a care. I still find London itself a little creepy. There are no old people in London. There are no disabled people in London—although I did once see someone on crutches. Everyone is just slightly too well turned-out and glamorous. It's as if the entire place, all seven million of them, are one giant Potemkin village. But the integrated transport system: that's nifty, and I can commute with the best of them.

Through London, then, and out the other side. Found myself on the train out of Waterloo sitting at a table with three young urban professionals, all wearing amusing cufflinks on shirts that would cost a week's worth of my salary. From the conversation I judged that they were in the business of buying and selling yachts to other, wealthier, young urban professionals. I was becoming increasingly aware that I was in England and that these were not my people, never were. At this point I was listening to Capercaillie on the ipod and eating a deliberately, relentlessly, nay dare I say it vindictively pan-European sandwich that I'd prepared earlier (sopocka and Leerdammer on ciabatta, trivia-fans) in an attempt to stave off homesickness. It was partially successful and that is because, where sandwiches are concerned, I roll twenties. I had crossed the border five hours previously.

Of the ticket inspector I asked a question which, I thought, would be a perfectly reasonable example of the genre:

Is there wifi?

There was a Silence, the kind of silence you only get when the saloon doors flap and the honky-tonk piano player stops mid-arpeggio. Said silence continued for about two and a half seconds longer than was comfortable, although it felt a lot longer while the Inspector looked at me—inspected me, no less— with narrowed eyes, as if I'd asked him for a happy ending. Eons passed, the civilization of man rose and fell, the civilization of cockroaches rose and fell, the civilization of squid rose and fell. Galaxies collided, then crashed and flew off. Then spake the Inspector thus:

No. The company's owned by a Scotsman.

Funny, that, said I. I've just had free wifi[0] all the way down on East Coast Rail. That one's owned by five million Scotsmen.

Okay, no I didn't, but I was thinking it pretty loud.

The training in Dorset was all about time management, so mostly consisted of To-do lists are good and Get a to-do-list. Then there was a section on assertiveness, because the fundamental yet unspoken rule of time management is always postpone meetings with time-wasting morons. That evening, after the CULINARY CHALLENGE[1] and an indeterminate number of beers[2], $FINANCE_DIRECTOR asked of me my opinion on the possibilities of Scottish Independence. I am a good manager who pays attention to his training, and I seize opportunities as they arise. This was a chance to test my newfound assertiveness, so I told him.

[personal profile] scotm, you would have been proud of me, although I suspect some of my figures were off. And I don't think $FINANCE_DIRECTOR was convinced.

Currently entrained at 113mph, somewhere between Newark-on-Trent and Worksop, on my way back to a civilized nation, where we have free wifi. And healthcare.

--

[0] c.f. blog post here.

[1] c.f. other blog forthcoming

[2] One, but the usual rule about cooking with alcohol applies: one for the pot, one for the chef, so a fair amount of free cider.

gominokouhai: (Inspector Fuckup)

My preferred serve at the moment is—no really, trust me on this—whisky and cream soda. Get yourself a nice smoky Islay blend (Black Bottle is good, plus the purchase of it pisses off Donald Trump; Islay Mist is far superior if you can find it), pack an old-fashioned glass with plenty of ice, and add cream soda. Since I am a posh New Town bastard these days, none of the supermarkets round here sell cream soda. I have to walk for twenty minutes before I can get to the grotty kind of shop that has a proper shelf full of Barr's products. It is worth the walk.

There is a commonly held belief that one shouldn't add mixers to single malts. This view is incorrect. You still shouldn't, ever, add mixer to single malts, unless you have a really good reason, which I often do. In defiance of this naive view, I have tried the same pour with Smokehead. Smokehead is a single malt (Scuttlebutt has it that it's a seven-year-old vatted Ardbeg with a dash of 10yo), but it still doesn't work as well in this serve as Islay Mist, which is a bloody fantastic drop for a blend, and cheap too, if you can find it.

Limited Edition, single hogshead, Ximenez finish cask strength 1996 Ben Riach: bloody marvellous. This is the bottle I was saving for when Maggie died, and now I finally have something for which I should thank the horrendous old bitch. Worth waiting for. Not a lot of point in my reviewing this, since most of you will never get to drink any. I have bottle no. 112 of 310, and this one's not coming round again. But nonetheless: bloody marvellous. Tart apple, hint of stewed raisins, and strong acetone on the nose; incredibly sticky mouthfeel, with a touch of burnt golden syrup on the palate; lighter notes and the sherry and oak all come out when you add a drop of water. The concentrated essence of apfelstrudel in a glass. Bloody beautiful. Thanks, Mags. Please feel free to die again any time you like.

Now, who's up for clubbing together to buy a cask of something nice, so that we may drink it when Gideon Osborne is finally deservingly assassinated?

I had a whisky recently that tasted exactly like Scarlett Johansson. I'm not kidding, that's what it tasted like. Or possibly it tasted like how she looks. Unfortunately I can't remember anything else about it, not even the whisky's name, or how it could possibly taste like that, or how I would know. Must have been a good one.

Many of you will know of my fondness for Lidl's finest Ben Bracken single malt. Lovely fresh vanilla cream notes, hint of lemon sherrrrbert, and it's about eighteen quid a bottle. Scuttlebutt has it that it's the last expression from the mothballed Tamnavulin distillery, but if that's true then I'm not sure where they're still getting the stuff from, since Tamnavulin reopened in 2007.

Vaguely related, today's find has been Aldi's finest, Glen Marnoch 12yo Highland single malt. There's no such place as Glen Marnoch and Internet is suspiciously silent on where this stuff came from. It's spent some time in a sherry cask, without question. Dry white pepper and old wizened cinnamon sticks on the nose. Packed full of fresh fruits—watermelon, guava, tropical fruit salad—citrus, and a warm welcoming sherry length to it. Nice long smoky finish with a little ethanol kick at the end. And the whole thing comes in at under twenty quid.

I'm starting to like Aldi. Their weinerschnitzel is good too.

gominokouhai: (Inspector Fuckup)

I promised I was going to make the chilli Vesper work and by Eris I've done it. On the third try. The first one didn't count, because I was using tequila. Tonight: success.

Did my research first, and turned up the useful factoid that you can buy quinine powder (although not, apparently, any more from the company linked from the Esquire article), which can be used to requinify Lillet back to a reasonable simulacrum of the 1953 recipe. This I have to try. But not today. Today is for habanero gin.

Yes, habaneros. I know I promised Scotch bonnets last time, but they're significantly harder to buy dried. Habaneros are basically exactly the same thing but from a different part of the world, and spelled differently. They have the same light zinginess and all the tropical fruit pineapple-mango-papaya freshness on the approach. They're also spicy as all fuck, so do not attempt the following unless you habitually gargle Tabasco for fun.

Turns out that the whole problem with buying them dried was completely pointless anyway, because doing it with dried chillies doesn't work. (That was the second failed attempt.) It worked perfectly well with the Arbol chillies in the tequila, but a Vesper requires more subtlety. Buy fresh. Hell, that means you could use Scotch bonnets after all. You can get them in Sainsburys now for cheap.

Utterly fuckin amazing habanero Vesper, I'm not even kidding this drink will eviscerate you with pleasure, you will literally BLEED to death AND YOU WILL THANK ME

  • Decant 300ml of gin into a glass container. Glass, because I dread even to speculate what this stuff would do to plastic.
    • I used Colonel Fox's gin, because the balance of flavours would go well with the fruitiness from the chillies, but frankly the chillies are powerful enough that you could use any old antifreeze as long as it's 40%ABV or more.
  • Chop two (fresh!) habaneros (or Scotch bonnets, like we discussed) into quarters and drop them in. Screw the bottle up tight.
  • Infuse for an hour. Give it a gentle shake half way through.
  • Since this drink requires preparation, you have adequate time to a) chill down your martini glass and b) ponder what it is you're about to do to yourself.
  • Seriously, NO MORE THAN AN HOUR. Strain out the chillies.
  • For the love of God, Mary, Jesus and all the little cherubim and seraphim, label the bottle with the gin in it. It still looks like water and when you wake up tomorrow you're going to be wanting some of that. You might also not be thinking particularly clearly. Preparation saves lives.
  • Showtime. Combine in a cocktail shaker:
    • two measures chillified gin;
    • one measure regular, unchillified, gin (no need to get crazy, now);
    • one measure vodka;
    • half a measure Lillet Blanc;
    • dash Peychauds bitters.
  • Top up with ice and shake like a motherfucker.
  • Double-strain into your suitably chilled martini glass.
  • Add a large, thin slice of lime peel. Lime, because it's got chilli in it; also, because I firmly believe that there is no single application of lemon that cannot be immediately, infinitely improved by the substitution of lime.[0]
  • Drink until you can't feel your nipples.
  • Don't even think about touching your dick until you've washed your hands twice.

Utterly fuckin amazing habanero Vesper, I'm not even kidding this drink will eviscerate you with pleasure, you will literally BLEED to death AND YOU WILL THANK ME

Yes, it's pink. It is so pink in fact that I have a new life goal: one day, I shall run a classy cocktail bar, and when a gaggle of irritating young women come in who've seen Sex And The City too many times[1] and think they're being sophisticated, I shall serve them one of these garnished with a cherry. It looks exactly like a Cosmo and then I shall laugh and laugh and laugh as they die. Remember, this cocktail started from Bond's recipe, to which I added chillies. This is a man's pink.

Also, it tastes bloody fantastic.

The photo above is photoshopped all to hell because I inadvertently shot it at ISO800; the choices were employing [personal profile] stormsearch for her 'shop expertise or making another one to take another picture of it. If I did that, I'd have to drink it, and there's only so much unadulterated joy that one can experience in a single evening.

While we were in 'shop, she clone-stamped out the rather obvious tandoori sauce stain that was visible on the counter. I wish cleaning the actual counter were that easy.

ObSafetyNote: chillies, so wear safety goggles. (Getting that wrong is a mistake you make exactly once in your life, and I have a permanent note on my medical record to say so.) Also, there is a mild-to-severe risk of botulism from using uncooked chillies: C. Botulinum lives in soil and reproduces anaerobically, so the gin won't kill it. I am still researching methods to alleviate this risk without boiling the chillies in vinegar, which works but makes them taste of vinegar. When I sort that out I'll let you know. Meantime, if I wake up paralyzed tomorrow morning, I want you all to know that it was totally worth it.

You may commence the statue-building now.

--

[0] The only possible exception to this otherwise infallible rule is the Cure For The Common Cold (Pat. Pending), and that's only because I haven't tried doing that with lime yet.

[1] i.e. once

gominokouhai: (Default)

Shitty day, followed by meeting up with [personal profile] stormsearch in a hurry so we can rush to the boot shop before they close and they can refuse to replace the stupid shitty boots they sold her instead of the awesome rockin boots they promised her in the shop the last time. I've had enough. I am in a mood that only spicèd chicken and tequila slammers will shift. Thus, 'twas off to the Mexican restaurant around the corner.

I may have still been in a mood during the ordering process. I was going to ask for some hotter hot sauces. I brush my teeth with that stuff. To his credit, the waiter brought me a bottle of hotter sauce: to my dismay, it was Tabasco. I revised my earlier boast. I brush my teeth with that stuff. The previous stuff is mouthwash. (I own a bottle of it, for [personal profile] stormsearch to use. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Food was okay, although they fucked up the fajitas, which they also fucked up (differently) the last time we were in: my non-fajita item was amazing, however. And there were margaritas. First there were two individual margaritas, because a jug might be too much: then there was a jug as well. In the process, there was a chilli margarita, which was a nice idea poorly executed. A sprinkle of chilli flakes in the glass. Slight hint of warming edge on the finish. Insufficient, I say.

Suitably replete with spicèd chicken and other items, headed home, modulo a brief stop off at the supermarket for ice cubes, because the ice machine isn't working (I may have mentioned that I was having a bad day). For reasons it would be otiose, at best, to rehearse, I have a full bottle and a half of tequila. It is time to infuse dried Arbol chillies into the half bottle.

Based on previous schnappsfabrefaction experience, I was expecting the process to take a couple of days, maybe a week. Just to be sure, I tasted it after two hours and HOLY SHIT yeah okay, that's ready. (I may have been somewhat generous with the chillies.) Hence or otherwise:

Genius Chilli Margarita

  • Half a lime, rolled hard and squeezed, and drop the hull into the shaker
  • Shot + pony shot Fearsome Chilli Tequila
  • Shot + pony shot triple sec
  • Top up with ice
  • Shake like a bastard
  • Double-strain into chilled salt-rimmed margarita glass, or a martini glass if you're slumming it.

Immediately upon tasting it I ran through to [personal profile] stormsearch, who was inconveniently in the bathroom at the time, and demanded BUILD A STATUE TO ME RIGHT NOW. It is simply that good.

Next time: scotch bonnets. The flavour will work brilliantly with the tequila I'm using. I also have plans for a chilli-tequila Vesper, which may yet be utter genius, but I fear it might be the kind of thing that one tries just once.

(While I'm at it: Mexican food for Burns' Nicht. O wee sleekit tim'rous Speedy. Cohiba.)

(ETA: The chilli-tequila Vesper, thus sampled (I ran out of limes for the margaritas), is a work of absolute unadulterated genius. Next time: chilli gin, and half a dash of Peychauds.)

gominokouhai: (Default)

The shirt I'm wearing has gone out at the elbows. That's okay, though, because I wear suits these days. Suit jackets cover up a multitude of sins.

I don't even have to iron any more. You can get away with being reasonably shabby as long as you own a suit while doing so.

~

Last night I was beset by terrible dreams about my time in Iraq. That time we were holed up in a massive stone cathedral when the Americans deployed their terrifying new petrification weapon on a bunch of insurgents. The screams. Being invalided home on a commercial airliner. It took me a good few hours after I woke up before I realized: hang on, I never actually served in Iraq. But it made for a very interesting morning at work. You weren't there, man, you couldn't know. You weren't there.

~

I currently have all the influenzas but I am in the process of defeating them with whisky, soup, a steak this thick, the Cure For The Common Cold (Pat. Pending), and more whisky. I have to be well again by 3pm tomorrow or my duty manager doesn't get to go home. And that would be bad.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Well, 2011 sucked, and 2012 was a marked improvement. Got promoted twice in twelve months (once last October and once again this June). Became a posh New Town bastard. Made the best bolognese known to man. Invented Eggs Cumberbatch, because somebody had to. Invented girrawheening, with help from [personal profile] highlyeccentric. Somebody had to.

Bought a new watch. It has a compass and a thermometer and a tide clock. Bought a new Gore-tex® jacket. Bought an incredible new fixed-length 50mm f/1.4 lens for the camera. Despite two promotions, still have no money. I wonder why.

Politically, swung yet further to the left (while still becoming a posh New Town bastard, yes, it's possible); finally fell off the fence and decided to go full-on for Scottish Independence. So far, I have donated £250 worth of the company's money to the cause (in the form of conference space we weren't otherwise using anyway), and haven't yet signed the Yes Declaration, because I don't like the wording.

Spent far too much time this year concentrating on work. To be fair, there were the two promotions in the space of twelve months, so I had a lot to learn; and now I'm responsible for the livelihoods of nineteen staff, many of whom I consider friends. But I have this down now. In the new year there will be more food, more drinking, and more loving. I was going to add more dancing to that list, but let's be realistic here.

May 2013 bring nothing but loveliness to all who read this; for Cameron, Osborne and DuncanSmith, may your next shit be a hedgehog. 2013 is when everything changes, and we gotta be ready.

gominokouhai: (Default)

At the market on Sunday someone was cooking bolognese sauce at the pasta stall. Slow-cooked in red wine, she said, offering me a taste. I don't taste stuff at markets unless there's a vague chance I'm going to buy something, which is a bizarre new rule of etiquette that I seem to have adopted for myself, and I had no cash that day. But the smell was enough. I wanted bolognese.

I research these things, I'm thorough. Read a bunch of recipes and then deliberately ignored all of them. The vast majority of bolognese recipes, I am still astounded to note, don't specify red wine. Many of them insist on white wine, but I don't care what Dr B says, this is a bolognese and it's having red wine in it. To do else would be madness.

Celery is another one of those things. Apparently you need celery to make a soffrito. I've never eaten celery and I'm not about to start now. I did consider buying some today, but I'm not about to buy a gigantic pack of the stuff in order to add a tiny amount of it to a soffrito. Until celery is available in individual sticks I shall remain unabashedly free of its pernicious apiceatic influence.

So. Read a bunch of recipes, ignored all of them. Ended up with this:

May contain images too saucy for those of a delicate nature )

And lo, it was delicious.

(There was also whisky, which it's possible you may determine from the content of this post.)

Tomorrow: minced-meat pies. Rowr.

gominokouhai: (Default)

IMG_0486

I'd recommend medium rare, maybe with a white wine and tarragon sauce.

Aww yeah

Thu, Apr. 19th, 2012 20:51
gominokouhai: (Default)

So this is me walking through Newington on my way between the organic food market and the artisan vintners & victuallers, carrying my organic jute tote bag—emblazoned with the logo of the local specialist American/Mexican delicatessen—currently stuffed with Polish honey-flavoured Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka and copious quantities of sopocka. Carefree I stroll along, my second-best girl at my side and my mind on a double mocha latte with three sugars, when a mad bearded Scotsman runs up, addresses me by name and thrusts a script into my hand.

This happens more often than you might think.

To be strictly accurate: it was a mad bearded Scotsman with whom I'd already worked a few times, and he took my email address so he could send me a script. He'd just been running a casting session and had apparently had a poor turnout. By the time I got home, his production assistant had emailed the script across.

If I were to attempt a summary of this script in one line of dialogue, it would go something like this:

COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE, likesay ken ya wee dos radge, Grasshopper.

It's brilliant. I would be an idiot to turn this gig down, despite the fact that I can't do the accent he wants. I've got a better idea for the accent. This is going to be awesome.

A good day.

gominokouhai: (Default)

I spent two hours today scouring the town for sambal oelek. It doesn't help that I've only ever seen the word written down and I have no idea how to pronounce sambal oelek[0]. Jordan Valley: nothing. Kamco: rien. All the little Asian shops: devoid. So, as I'd expected, I ended up hiking across the Meadows to the fabulous Lupe Pintos again, muttering to myself about how I should have just gone directly there in the first place.

Lupe Pintos not only had sambal oelek but also two other types of sambal I'd never even heard of before. Lupe Pintos also has a ten-quid minimum card purchase, so having swiped the necessary jar of unpronounceable goodness it's time to help myself from the wall-sized range of chilli sauces. I'm running low on some of the basic staples and, besides, one can never have too many chilli sauces.

A chilli sauce for every occasion

Although I think it's possible that I'm getting close.

Once I was done in Lupe Pintos I popped across the road to the Co-op for garlic, and while there I beheld this:

IMAG0038

Goddammit.

--

[0] Oelek is from the Dutch, so it's pronounced ulek, which sounds like it should be the Martian word for Dalek and makes me wonder if the two have been teaming up.

gominokouhai: (Default)

I have to cancel the bwiefing. I can't even say bwiefing.

(ObLink: Awesome CJ is awesome.

Wasn't as bad as I thought, actually. Mouth full of blood and iodine. Not allowed any booze until tomorrow, but that's okay, because my entire mouth tastes like a rather interesting single Islay malt.

Now bring me the iced cream.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Regular readers will know that there are many ways to make a pasta sauce, and Jamie fuckin Oliver's version is pretty crappy. In the time since we made that episode (holy crap that was three years ago today) I've improved on his methods, combined them with Hugh's, and improved on those too. This, then, is how you make a proper pasta sauce.

cut for length )

Meatball lasagne el diablo is fantastic.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Chocolate and peanut butter.

Have ever two diverse flavours been so deliciously juxtaposed? Apart from maybe beef and cheese. Or bacon and maple syrup. It would seem that this is something the Yanks do really well: putting together two things that, on paper, should become an abomination unto all the laws of god and man, only to discover: dude, this is awesome.

Actually, it transpires that there is one thing better yet than even chocolate and peanut butter. Chocolate and peanut butter and bourbon. In a milkshake.

It's like everything that is good about America in a cup. It's the Liquid of the Free and the Hooch of the Brave.

In addition, and this point may be vital to full enjoyment of such a beverage: it looks like regular milkshake, and thus can be drunk at work.

I have been doing some experimentation, and my first conclusion is this: before you do anything else, before you even finish reading this post, go and buy chocolate syrup. I know you have drinking-chocolate powder in the cupboard. It is insufficient. If you don't have the finest American-themed grocery in the land just around the corner from you, and I'm guessing that most of you don't, then you can get it online.

The best goddamn milkshake in the universe, I'm not even joking

  • Four or five scoops of vanilla iced cream.
  • About a shot of chocolate syrup. If you've run out of chocolate syrup, three teaspoons of drinking chocolate forms a barely-acceptable substitute, but seriously, go and get some chocolate syrup.
  • One shot of milk. That's if the iced cream is sufficiently soft. If the iced cream came directly from the freezer, use two shots of milk.
  • Blend into a brown-ish paste. (Tip: pulse the blender. If you let the blender run, all the iced cream piles up on the sides and it won't get blent. Pulsing gives it chance to collapse down into the middle again.)
  • Pour a little over half into a glass and give it to your peanut-allergic girlfriend. If you don't have a peanut-allergic girlfriend, you can probably order one online.
  • Add a shot of bourbon and a level teaspoon of peanut butter. Smooth peanut butter, for Cthulhu's sake. And be careful with the amount. Ever tried eating peanut butter off the spoon?... you don't want that. Be stingy.
  • Blend until it is blent. Then blend a bit more for luck. Peanut butter has a tendency to form hidden lumps.
  • If you can control yourself, pour into a glass and enjoy. If not, drink it straight out of the blender. Nobody's watching, I promise.

DSC06370w   DSC06372w

Best served with a colourful straw and a rousing chorus of something from Assassins.

gominokouhai: (Default)

I wanted to drink something specific this evening. So I tinkered around, added this and that, finally got it perfect, and only then realised that I'd just invented the daiquiri. I'm not quite sure if this makes me a genius comparable to Constantino Ribalaigua, or whether I'm just a hundred and fifty years too late.

Part of the problem was that, after a double bacon cheeseburger, cajun fries, and short-stack maple pancakes I was extremely thirsty but very, very full. Basically I wanted a long cold lemonade, but short. So I set about inventing the concentrated essence of lemonade.

The concentrated essence of lemonade

  • Juice of one large lemon and one lime.
  • Two shots sugar syrup.
  • Dash Angostura bitters.
  • It wasn't working at all until I added half a shot of tequila.

Shake very well over ice and strain into a chilled Nutella glass.

Perfect.

My shot measures are Imperial, so each shot here is one and a half ounces. They were a christening present from my godfather (who displayed remarkable prescience in determining, when I was three months old, exactly what present I'd value most when I turned out the way I did). They come from a silversmiths in York that has a five-digit phone number on the box, which tells you how old I am.

And now I am no longer thirsty. Job done.

Although now I'm considering combining the drink with a layer of pineapple-coconut hydrocolloid foam... it may be that my problems are deeper than those of mere hydration.

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