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I quit the weed today!

Yes indeedy! I no longer smoke. Following a heavy session last night, I finished the dust that remained in my pack of Golden Virginia and feel quite ill now. No more fags for me!

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin & Red Lentil Soup

One of the first things I do every morning is think about what I might prepare for dinner that evening. Today I have been offered a suggestion in the form of a ready disected and roasted pumpkin and a packet of red lentils, strategically displayed where I wouldn’t miss them.

In a scene reminiscent of Ready, Steady, Cook I lean on the counter staring at the two ingredients in an effort to draw inspiration. It wasn’t too difficult to come up with a few ideas but given the frosty morning and the hope of little improvement for the remainder of the day, I opted for an Indian themed soup.

This simple recipe requires no culinary prowess and I am not even going to proffer precise quantities for all ingredients as it’s mostly created by taste and in quantities you desire.

Lentils are bloody marvelous, so versatile and help lower cholestral too. I use them in a multitude of dishes from soups to stews because they are so quick and easy to use. Rinse and chuck them into your favourite stock or plain old H2O. For this dish, I’m using 500gms of red lentils but then I currently have nine mouths to feed! Don’t fret about making too much as it freezes very well.

Firstly, rinse the lentils in cold water. I’m using the Nature’s Selection brand which require no pre-soaking, so follow the instructions you have.

Spicy roasted pumpkin & red lentil soup
Spicy roasted pumpkin & red lentil soup

Finely chop a large onion and gently fry in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. As the onion begins to very lightly brown, add a couple of cloves of minced garlic. After a further minute or so, combine a heaped teaspoon of turmeric, cumin and coriander but you can reduce or increase any combination depending on your own taste. Gently frying at this stage helps to release the flavours and aromas of the spices better than adding to the soup later. Having said that, keep tasting periodically and adding more until the moment you serve.

Add your shiny clean lentils to a suitably sized pot and drown in chicken or vegetable stock. I’m starting with a litre and a half but can easily add more later if required and probably will.

Now scrape the flesh away from the hard pumpkin skin if soft, else cut the skin away and chop roughly.

Throw everything into your pot, bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 45 minutes. If you prefer, you can liquidise the soup for smooth finish but this just adds to the washing up and I consider it excessive faffing about and in any case, I quite like the non-liquidised texture.

If you have any fresh coriander leaves, roughly chop and use as garnish. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or natural yoghurt and accompany with mini papadums or fresh crusty bread.

Bon appétit!
Mwynhewch eich bwyd!

Gobbledegeek’s Cauliflower Cheese

So I’ve had this cauliflower in the fridge for quite some time now, hoping it would gracefully grow old and black so that I could avoid preparing a cheese sauce but to my horror, and ignoring a barely visible amount of blackening, it looked as good as the day I dumped it there. So I must bite the bullet and prepare a sauce that in all honesty, is not so much of a chore but will require a little extra work if it is to feed several hungry mouths.

A fresh hoon brain
A fresh hoon brain

We’ll start by preparing the milk. Throw a couple of bay leaves, a quartered onion and half a dozen cloves into the milk, season with sea salt and black pepper and bring to the boil. I use between 1 and 1.5 litres and this expands considerably once you start adding cheese, so bear this in mind when selecting your pan. You can experiment with other infusions if you’re feeling adventurous.

Once your infusion begins to boil, remove the pan from the heat and discard the ingredients when cool. Allowing the milk infusion to cool will help avoid lumps later.

Moving on to the cauli, start by removing the stem and any unwanted foliage. At this stage you should have already removed it from the fridge, otherwise it could get a little cramped and quite likely dangerous too. You can remove any unsightly blackening with a potato pealer or a sharp knife. Cut into florets or if you prefer, simply cut into the required amount of portions.

Boil in salted water for 5 minutes and then drain. You could save the water for another dish if you wish and I’d suggest using it for a creamy cauliflower soup made with cumin, turmeric and fresh coriander, for instance.

While the cauli cools, we’ll do the roux for our béchamel sauce by taking equal quantities of flour and butter. Over a low to medium heat, melt the butter first and whisk in the flour to create a smooth, creamy mess akin to wet sand. That’s your classic roux, used as a base for several ‘mother’ sauces, which in turn are used as bases for all other sauces.

Still whisking, gradually add the cooled milk infusion until completely combined. As the mixture heats the fat reacts with the starch in the flour and thickens the milk. You should continue stirring over the heat until the floury taste subsides but before the mixture darkens too much, that is unless you need a base for a dark sauce, of course.

Now you can gradually add your cheese, transforming our béchamel into cheese sauce unless you wish to impress your dinner guests, then calling it a cheese béchamel is acceptable.

Quite cheesy
Quite cheesy
Cheesy!
Cheesy!

Did you know that equal quantities of Gruyère and Parmesan combined with your basic béchamel create the famous Mornay sauce? However, for our cauliflower cheese, we’ll stick with good old Cheddar. Continue adding the cheese and tasting regularly until the desired cheesiness is met.

Finally, a little more seasoning can be added or try a little nutmeg before pouring over the cauliflower which has been sat patiently in a suitable ovenware dish. Grate a little more cheese over the top and chuck it in the pre-heated oven at about 180°C for 20 minutes or until slightly singed on top.

Cauliflower cheese
Cauliflower cheese

Depending on whether the cauliflower cheese is for lunch, dinner or just a side dish, you can pad it out and make it go further by adding chopped bacon or peas and even pasta, to name a few. Equal quantities of cauli and broccoli make a pleasant change when accompanying the Sunday roast, although my personal preference would be to include very little cheese in this case.

Bon appétit!
Mwynhewch eich bwyd!

Bendigo Hoons – Top of The Fuck Head List Again…

…and still bottom of the gene pool.

Well, it’s not really news is it? Bendigo is again honoured with the prestigious accolade of being the state’s Hoon Capital! A label loved by many and one set to remain for the foreseable future, or at least until genetic manipulation becomes legal/acceptable.

If you’d like to read the article, try here.

What motivates these fuck heads? I mean, if dicing with death is something that substitutes Viagra for these homosexuals, why not simply shoot up an Ice/Crack/random semen cocktail once in a while? That way, you get the rush you crave while never really knowing whether you are going to die a horrible death or not but should it be the former, and we can live in hope, you only ruin the lives of your family.

I cherish the moment one of these Neanderthal toss pots crosses my path or puts my children at risk.

Of course, being of little intelligence, they often bemoan the ‘personal vendetta’ carried out by the local police force in the pursuit of their deemed innocent high jinks, rather than targeting paedophiles, murderers and well, any other criminal activity than theirs. Bendigo Police receive precious little praise for their work against Bendigo’s botty-boys who use hooning as a cover.

Read an article about Bendigo’s Traffic Management Unit here.

One dick-less wonder in particular seems not to understand that his actions have consequences. Poor Joshua Shelton lost his arm as the result of his misguided passion for hooning and while I wouldn’t endorse such radical and extreme body modification, especially for someone who seemingly enjoys driving, it doesn’t appear to have quashed his appetite for the socially repulsive activity. Donkey bollocks Joshua was caught twice in just 90 minutes, having already lost his license! Numb-nuts Josh is THE most effective argument for genetic manipulation if ever there was one.

Read about silly Joshua Shelton from Bendigo here.

Incidentally, this really gets my goat and, just between you and me, I don’t even own a goat! The social misfits, fortunate enough to harm themselves while hooning, are even eligible for compensation payouts from the Transport Accident Commission!

Even if they were deemed negligent and ultimately responsible for an incident, most were still entitled to a lump-sum impairment benefit, she said.

Read more on this insanity here.

I will give intelligent readers one guess as to who pays these dim-witted dick-nibblers? Hoons can obviously have several but I suggest you right in for the answer because you’ll be here forever otherwise.