Cereal Killers and Deadly Supplements

Mmmm, I was just looking at a bird on our bird-feeder in the garden, thinking, “My, what a long beak you have”…….. then I realised I was looking at the arse-end and that was actually a tail feather. Maybe it’s not just that my eyes are nearing 45 years of age, but perhaps it’s all because of food packaging. Or red dyes in Smarties. Maybe it’s the third cup of morning coffee or invisible zappyrays from calculators…….

Enough of the bird-watching already. I am easily distracted by birds and squeaky things today. I am making several brisk trips from the playroom (we call my ‘home office’ the playroom, and Sir’s home office ‘THE OFFICE’…… WTF) to the kitchen because my Sketchers make a funky squeaky noise on the floor tiles. To make it more musical I walk like those self-trained hobbling freaks at every second traffic light in Joburg – and I bet if you threw a snake at those fuckers they’d outrun Hussein Bolt in a 100m sprint.

Onto serious matters though, like why certain foodstuff and health supplement manufacturers have murderous intent towards either the planet or their consumers, or both?

Everybody is on the “Save the Planet” bandwagon. I personally think it is a whole lot of hype and there will probably be another Ice Age or something equally disastrous whether your great aunt uses too much of her aerosol vaginal deodorant or not.

I am glad to see that breakfast cereal and health supplement manufacturers share my view. What I do believe is that we might eventually run out of space to discard all sorts of shit, and empty cereal boxes and supplement bottles qualify as said ‘shit’.

Why are these containers up to ten times bigger than necessary considering the quantity of product they contain? I cannot fathom why 30 little vitamin tablets are sold in 250ml sized bottles when they need just 20ml of space? Why can you shove your arm into a cereal box and only hit actual cereal when your arm is already elbow-deep into the box? Whyyyyyyyy? Are these boxes intended for use as homeless shelters? If so, print that on the box……… “Part A. Collect B, C, D and E to complete your shelter!” Ooorrrrrr……… “Tired of sleeping on gritty hard concrete? Unfold box to use as a barrier between your delicate sunfried skin and the unforgiving earth.” I would feel better about it if I knew there was a noble purpose for the gigantic box afterwards, but if it only ends up taking up a square foot of space in the dustbin, then fuck you Kellogg’s and Co.

Seriously – fuck the planet – my dustbin is filling up much faster than necessary because of inconsiderate manufacturers! AND, not only do I have to dispose of the ridiculous 250ml sized bottle a few miserly vitamins came in, THAT bottle is packaged in a cardboard box!! WTF?! Is this really totally necessary? They print the exact same crap on the cardboard packaging as they do on the bottle inside, so what’s the point of the double-packaging? Are your supplements of such dismal quality that we need to be reminded TWICE of what we are opening? Is there a discount for “unboxed” supplements? I don’t think the extra packaging serves any purpose, because it’s much easier to open than the actual bottle inside which has a tight cellophane-like shrunken seal that requires a hacksaw to get through.

Then you also get supplements, like some of the Omega oil capsules, that are so big they would comfortably fill the 250ml sized bottle, with room to spare, but nooooooooooooo, Mr Vitamin manufacturer has a special 500ml sized bottle for THAT one. So now, for good measure, the vitamin makers want to kill not just the planet, but their consumers too! These caps are like huge bullets, and it’s like swallowing kittens whole. Not that I’ve swallowed whole kittens before – I’m allergic, but if I wasn’t I totally would and it would be like swallowing an Omega 3 capsule from hell.

It’s not just dustbin space that matters, imagine how much cupboard space could be freed up if everything we bought were in appropriately sized containers? Perhaps this is where things went wrong – some arsehole read “…. Inappropriately sized containers…”

Oh no! Don’t even get me started on retailers who insist that you keep all packaging for guarantee purposes when you buy electronic appliances! Perhaps they need a few supplements to get their defunct brains functioning again. Now you’re not even talking about cupboard space – you’re talking an entire room, or a warehouse! And of course the boxes are way way bigger than the appliances inside, because these are packed inside the boxes in a thick half kilometre wide safety buffer made of polystyrene! Whatever happened to just filling out the guarantee card? Manufacturers and retailers have completely lost the fucking plot!

Now it’s time to grab your 250ml container of whipping cream, which actually contains 250ml of whipping cream, sometimes even 257ml, whisk until thick and fabulous, and serve with this simple-to-make but oh-so-delicious apple crumble……..

APPLE CRUMBLE

 

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 185g Butter
  • 185ml Castor Sugar
  • 5ml Baking Powder
  • 225g Cake Wheat Flour
  • 110ml Cornflour
  • 2ml Salt
  • 1 Jumbo Egg, Beaten


 Filling:

  • 820g Pie Apples (Tinned apples, drained but still wet) 
  • 70ml Seedless Raisins, Currants or Sultanas
  • 7ml Ground Cinnamon
  • 5ml Ground Mixed Spice
  • 180ml Castor Sugar


Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180⁰ Celsius
  • Cream the butter and sugar together well.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed butter mixture, alternating with the beaten egg.
  • Spoon two thirds of the mixture into a pie dish and press evenly into base and sides. Put the remaining mixture in the fridge until needed.
  • Mix together all the ingredients for the filling and spoon into the uncooked pie shell.
  • Remove the remaining pastry from the fridge, and grate over the filling, covering the top evenly.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with freshly whipped cream.


A toilet fit for a funeral

We learn from our mistakes, no doubt about it. We also learn simply by ‘being’…….. every day presents opportunities to learn something new if we care to look hard enough for the lessons.

I learnt something from a mistake this week – don’t ever try to nonchalantly shave off a skin tag. But uhmmm, these protrusions belong on octogenarians and have no business setting up home in my neck! Okay okay, lesson learnt – let a doctor deal with skin tag relocation.

The other lesson I learnt was that my favourite Nexcare plasters leave the sensitive skin red with fury, like my neck is shouting “How daaaaaaaaaare you cover the botched skin tag job with a thin skin-like plaster that is almost invisible when you know you should use a loud Disney plaster on that highly visible and sensitive area you have just mangled!!!!”

I know I’m going to learn something else this week – it will be one of two things:

  1. Don’t ignore an angry lump forming near mangled skin tag jobs.
  2. Angry lumps, when in close proximity to other trauma sites or the result of a possible allergy, will go away eventually. As long as you can breathe you’ll survive. I knew I was right.

Eventually I will have to take the neck to the doc to finish the job, and risk him being totally unimpressed with my surgical skills, and I don’t want to get on my doc’s bad side because, well….. needles. Who knows what future pain he could inflict just to remind me who should do the doctoring and who should do accounting. Sigh. It’s ouchy and it stings a lot, but I can’t stop touching it… it’s like masturbating a third-degree burn. Not pleasant.

Seriously, how can one’s body just spontaneously sprout these shrivelly little penisy things?! The ONLY living being who can pull off skin protrusions is Gabriel Macht, or as he’s better known – the crotch-tingling hot Harvey Specter.

I rest my case…………….

Okay on second thought………. and because I’ve been staring at this pic for 10 minutes, maybe he should lose just ONE of those testicles growing above his brow because it kinda looks like a plugpoint for alien probes. And Harv, honey, ditch the hair product…… I assure you, you will still get to part just as many Pastrami Curtains……….

So that’s the skin tag lesson…….. I wonder if nail clippers would have been better for the job? ……… Stop it!

Some lessons you will never forget. One of those, for me, is “The Peekaboo Game of Thrones”……. I learnt that the choice of toilet, or Water Closet as the builders refer to it, for your home is an extremely important decision. It’s not just a log shuttle, especially when you have kids, and even more so when the kids are young and have pets that are marginally larger than a healthy turd.

When we renovated our home a few years ago, this lesson was retrieved from the memory archives and toilet choices were made with both aesthetics and future Games of Thrones in mind.

 

My son Dr Fresh had a hamster called Fudgey.

Fudgey was more than 2 years old already when my Late dad brought his youngest brother over for a visit one night. I had not seen my uncle for a few years, and Dr Fresh barely knew him, but was really excited because we had another visitor he could show Fudgey off to. The three of them were huddled around Fudgey’s cage when my son asked “Mom, why is Fudgey hard?” GROAN.

My uncle chortled, sprayed a bit of snot on the cage, and then broke into a full stomach-churning grunt-chortle-laugh, trying desperately to maintain some composure as my son was about to experience trauma and learn about death for the first time.

Pappy and his brother left, laughing like hyenas all the way to the car, and I shrugged my shoulders and made a puppy-dog look that said “Shame booboo I’m sorry my boy, Fudgey is in heaven now.” whilst trying to suppress a huge grin, because…… – no more hamster cage cleaning every week!!

I made a small mistake with regard to the choice of funeral service though. Should have buried it in the garden. But, I convinced my son that Fudgey would want to be with his sewer friends – you know, like the ones on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the easiest way there would be via the toilet. “Trust me, he’s going to be so happy with his new hamster family down there.”

But Fudgey still had a bit of a rigor mortis issue, so the fucker wouldn’t flush. Whaddaya know – a floater. It was traumatising – for my son. Every time he waved and shouted “Bye bye Fudgey”, the water would swirl, the fudge-coloured fur would vanish, and a few seconds later up it would come, those extra old extra long extra yellow hamster teeth, pink nose and the little curled claws next to its lifeless little face popping up after every flush. Then we’d stand there and wait for the cistern to fill, and I’d tell my son that Fudgey was playing peekaboo – coming back for one last goodbye every time. He bought it, but I was severely traumatised by The Hamster That Wouldn’t Flush.

I should have just removed Fudgey with a plastic packet or something after the first failed attempt to send him to his sewer friends via the ‘tube’, but by the time I thought of it I had already convinced my son of so much bullshit, scuse the pun, that I had no choice but to stand there and play along, waving to Fudgey, shouting “Peekaboo!” with a horrified expression of expectation every time I pulled the handle to flush. Fudgey came back for a last goodbye six times. SIX. The trauma!

So, if you ever renovate, pick a toilet that is small animal flushworthy, even if you don’t have young kids I bet it will be a good future selling point for your home.

Now, if Harvey Specter has left you feeling a tad flushed, go and pour yourself a stiff drink and try this week’s recipe…….. it’s made with a dead animal part.

 

PULLED LAMB SHOULDER ON CIABATTA WITH CARAMELISED BABY ONIONS


Ingredients:

  • 2kg Lamb Shoulder – bones in
  • ¾ Cup Red Wine (good wine, not plonk)
  • ¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 7 Garlic Cloves, unpeeled
  • Few Sprigs Rosemary
  • Generous glug of Olive Oil
  • Salt Crystals
  • Just a Hint of Black Pepper

     


For the Caramelised Baby Onions

  • 1kg Baby Onions, Peeled and Sliced
  • ¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • Splash of Olive Oil
  • Teaspoon dried Thyme

Place all onion ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan, add half a cup of water, bring to a boil, turn the heat down as low as possible and leave the onions to cook and caramelise for about 2 to 3 hours. Towards the end you will need to stir it every few minutes to prevent onions caramelising unevenly or burning! Just do it. Or just buy a jar of onion marmalade……..

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 230⁰C (446⁰F).
  • Place the lamb in a heavy casserole dish, on top of half the garlic cloves and rosemary. Rub it lovingly all over. Once you start you won’t be able to stop. It’s slippery and sexy and simply a lot of fun. Lather up your hands and wash them well. Add salt and pepper, rub the meat some more. The Lamb Shoulder. Although you can rub whatever meat you want. Anywhere, anytime…….. we don’t judge.
  • Roast the lamb in the hot oven, uncovered, naked and exposed, for 20 minutes.
  • Reduce the temperature to 140⁰C (290⁰F), put the lid on the pot, plunging Mary’s pet into hot darkness, and leave it to slow-roast for four hours.


  • Using two forks, shred the meat off the bone. The aroma……….. aaaaaaaahhhhhh wow………
  • Top half of a ciabatta roll with some meat, no butter or oil required because the meat is juicy and ooooozing flavours and dribbles. Top with some of the onions and tuck in.
  • If you’d like, pop a few pieces of Danish Feta on top of that – it is sublime………..


 

The Baron’s recommendation:

The lamb shoulder sounds delicious. I had something very similar in Bordeaux in 2010, but accompanied by some haricot beans. It fell off the bone. Although I drank a Bordeaux then, a varietal from the Cote du Rhone would be more appropriate for the lamb. Cloof’s “The Very Sexy Shiraz” would be spot on.