So, I was having abit of a bad day there a week or so ago and posted an impromptu rant on Facebook about the things that were particularly bothering me at the time. I was expecting a bit of a backlash against it, but instead it generated mostly agreement. So I thought I'd flesh it out a bit here, mostly as an exercise to see if these things are still annoying me just as much today, on a Friday, when I'm feeling remarkably more zen about the world as a whole.
1. People who can't spell. I'm being visually assaulted from all sides of my Facebook newsfeed. Buy a fucking dictionary already.
God, this drives me mad. The internet/social media has an awful lot to answer for with regards to the dumbing down of an entire generation. Dis, dats, dese and dose everywhere. Wat, youse, shud of, I seen, I been - it's endless. And not only can these people not spell, they actually seem perversely proud of the fact. It boggles my mind, it really does. Have they any - any - idea how unutterably stupid they appear? Prbly not.
2. News outlets reporting speculation from other news outlets as actual news. Oh, so the Indo said that Sean O'Brien is on the verge of signing for Toulon? Better stick it in our next bulletin, so.
Spin 1038 actually did this, in an actual news report. "The Irish Independent has reported that Sean O'Brien is likely to sign with French side Toulon later today." That's not news!!! That's just you passing on someone else's opinion. Jesus wept.
4. The Book Depository. Gimme my poxy books, now.
They've all since arrived, two of them about an hour after I'd written that post, and the third the following day, so it's all good.
5. People right-onning Gabourey Sidibe. I've no time for internet trolls, but let's not kid ourselves that she's some kind of role model for positive body image.
Ooh, this is a biggie for me. If you're not familiar with the background, Gabourey Sidibe, a morbidly obese actress drew a lot of flack online after the Golden Globes for her appearance. She allegedly responded "To the people commenting on my weight, I'm just going to go cry in my private jet while I fly to my next job" and the quote, predictably, was everywhere in the following days with people going "Boom!" and "You tell them haters!" and "You go girl!". Now, while I think that professional internet trolls are the lowest of the low, I really don't think anyone should be holding Sidibe up as a role model for positive body image. Glorifying either end of the weight spectrum is a bad idea. It doesn't really matter how "happy" Sidibe is, the fact of the matter is that she's staring down the barrel of some major, major health problems. Cheerleading that is downright dangerous.
6. This week.
Which is now last week. But yeah, it was a bad 'un. Assignment hell, destitution, cabin fever. Actually, now that I think about it, this week isn't all that different.
7. Motor tax.
My car is eight years old. It is worth approximately two grand. It is not fancy, or flash, or high-performance in any way. I taxed it for three months last week, plus a month's arrears, and it cost me €257.
My friend K's car is one month old. It's worth approximately forty-eight grand. It is extremely fancy, and flash, and gorgeous in every imaginable way, and I would date it if I could. She taxed it for the entire year last week, and it cost her €200. You can see the reason for my annoyance, I'm sure.
8. Idiots who can't park.
Forget the zombie apocalypse, the major plague that seems to be spreading across the nation lately is the inability to park. It's DEFINITELY getting worse. Why that is, I don't know. A symptom of the fact that people just have absolutely zero consideration for others these days? Perhaps. But regardless, here's a tip for those of you who might find it slightly challenging: those lines on the ground provide a handy guide as to where your car should actually end up. Have a fucking look at them once in a while.
9. Whichever genius thought 700 metres was sufficient distance between two of the busiest exits on the M50.
Namely the Red Cow and Ballymount. I actually find it hard to even write about this, it annoys me so much. Suffice to say that traffic queuing to get off at the Red Cow regularly backs up the full 700m to Ballymount, so that people trying to get on from Ballymount can't go anywhere. And nor can anyone else, because the entire rest of the mainline gets snarled up with people trying to get over into the exit lane. Slow clap to whoever came up with that design.
Oy vey. That's a topic for a whole 'nother day. I've harshed my Friday mellow enough.
So, onwards with the budget feeding. I know I already said it, but I really am sorry that this is taking so long. What actually happened is that I had them all made and photographed and ready to go. And then I somehow managed to delete all the photos, so I had to go and cook them all again. Which is taking forever because I've been up to my mincers in college work for the past couple of weeks. The bad news is, the last two recipes are going to be even longer in coming as I won't be cooking again til Monday. Forgive me, please!
Anyway, today's recipe is a slightly more grown-up version of bangers and mash. Don't be put off by the thoughts of the apple; they're a classic combination with pork. In fact, my mother will attest that I used to regularly have a sausage with an apple for breakfast when I was younger and have a bite of each at the same time.
Bangers, Pudding and Mash with Caramelised Onion - serves 4
8 jumbo sausages 1 black pudding, cut into 12 slices
2 onions, finely sliced 6 medium potatoes, peeled & quartered
1 tsp sugar 1 tbs mustard
2 knobs butter Oil, salt & pepper
1 apple, peeled, cored, quartered and finely sliced
1. Melt one kob of butter with a little olive oil in a pan and gently sweat your onions with a lid on for 15 minutes, until nice and soft.
2. In the meantime, boil the potatoes til nice and tender, then drain and leave to steam dry for 5 minutes. Stick your sausages and pudding under the grill.
3. Add the apple and sugar to the onions, toss to mix, then leave the lid off and cook on a slightly higher heat til everything is nice and golden.
4. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash with the other knob of butter, the mustard, a splash of milk and plenty of salt & pepper.
5. When your sausages & pudding are cooked on all sides, divide the mash between four plates, place two sausages and three slices of pudding on top and heap with the caramelised apples and onions.
Suggestions: As you can see, I added a pea puree to this. The colour really adds to the look of the dish, pea & pudding are a classic combo, and it's always nice to up the veg quotient in any dish. Anyway, it couldn't be easier to make. Cook 500g of frozen peas, drain (but reserve a tablespoon or so of the cooking water) and blitz in a food processor with a tablespoon of mint sauce, loosening with the cooking water if needs be.
The other great thing about this dish is that if you are cooking for fewer than four people you can just cook what you need, and keep the extra sausages and pud for a cooked brekkie at the weekend. Happy days.