Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The competition

I've never written of my culinary prowess before because, well, I'm the modest sort.

However, when presented with the opportunity to appear on 'Masterchef' I couldn't turn it down.

The competition was made up of three rounds.

Host Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins and sous chef Monica Something gathered the four contestants - myself included - into a room to demonstrate our skills and some basic cooking ability. One of the four would be eliminated, with three going on to cook for renowned Michelin tyre owner, sorry, Michelin star-having chef Michel Roux Jr.

= =

1) The Elimination Test: We were charged with de-packeting a Chomp bar and opening a jar of pickles.

The Chomp has a foil wrapper that, serated edges or no serrated edges, is piss easy to tear. Monica Something gave a tiny wee wince even though I knew I'd nailed it. Looking back now, I reckon her grimace was just for the cameras, the preening bitch.

Anyway, yeah, that proved no significant hurdle. I plated up and went on.

The pickle jar proved trickier. I'd had a pre-event tug to ease the nerves, so the bastard thing wouldn't take in my hand full of leftover man goo. I demonstrated considerable nous, however, in my tea towel technique and the lid popped off with such zeal that poor Billy Corgan's sizable dome almost took a cutting.

Monica Something: I admired your technique with the Chomp, you've clearly de-wrappered before. It's got the perfect texture of chocolate and caramel.

Billy Corgan: Myum myum.

Monica Something: The pickles in this jar have the faint taste of Radge inseminant, but by and large it's been a good effort.

Billy Corgan: Myum.


Result: I got through to cook for Chef Michel.

= =

2) The Ingredients Test: We were told by Chef Michel that we would have to use smoked fillet of thigh of French 30-year-old virgin to make two dishes.

Other ingredients included some Paxo, one turnip, some shallots, some men's hair, otter whiskers and nine glugs of whiskey.

In this round, improvisation is key. I whipped the turnip into a frenzy and interlaced it with a compote of shallots and men's hair (grey and thinning). I finished it off by roasting the virgin thigh and garnished it with leftover Chomp.

My second dish was exactly the same, but I cleverly used a bowl as opposed to a side dish.

Chef Michel: The compote is seasoned perfectly while there's a great texture to the thigh of 30-year-old French virgin. The Chomp lets you down, it's a little bit under-confident, but overall it works.

Billy Corgan: Nyam.

Chef Michel: For your second dish, the presentation is exquisite. You've used exactly the same ingredients and techniques to create something absolutely the same but wholeheartedly different.

Billy Corgan: Yur.


Result: They don't judge you until after the third test. Pay fucking attention.

= =

3) The Classic Recipe Test: Chef Michel told us to put together a dish of disgruntled pheasant, a Norwegian banquet staple, followed by a classic Lemon Tartlet.

This proved tricky. I loaded up and hit the fields with greatest haste. I was on the clock and knew I had to track down, kill, carry and cook a disgruntled pheasant before the clock struck 3pm.

As it happened, I got a mobile phone call telling me to get back to the studio, the pheasants had been pre-captured and were waiting in the car park to be evaluated.

I raced back, chose my pheasant, shot it, de-feathered it, threw it in the oven and tended to my garnishes and accoutrements.

I just managed to get it on to my plate before the judging started.

Chef Michel: Ooooh. Big problem here.

Me: Yes chef?

Chef Michel: This pheasant, while cooked perfectly, was clearly deeply morose in its last moments. It was far more than disgruntled. It's a beginner's mistake. The garnishes work fine but I'm afraid this isn't what we asked for.

Billy Corgan: No.

Chef Michel: And the classic Lemon Tartlet?

Me: Here it is chef.

Chef Michel: That's Kim Basinger.

Me: Yes chef.

Chef Michel: Go home.

Me: Sorry chef.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bleugh

One should never put too much faith in the restorative powers of probiotic natural yogurt with black cherry compote, whereas one ought salve oneself with many episodes of Entourage whilst feeling, still, like shit.

Oughtn't one?

Poxy virus.

There is little else of consequence to report.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lovely Lisa

There's something about bumping bottoms with Lisa Hannigan in Dublin's Long Hall pub that will take manners from a man. Don't doubt my truth in this.

YouTube her. Search for 'Lille.' She's every bit as comely in reality with her long red dress and her pint of Guinness.

For me, she could have done without the ginger man accompaniment, a person holding court over a table of quiffs and sycophance but I've got nothing against him really, old Glen. I just wish he'd leave lovely Lisa to me in some parallel universe where I'm not sitting at the next table, humming her tunes back to her while she pretends not to notice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rank

If it looks like swine flu, and it aches like swine flu, and it bleeds like swine flu, then surely it's a hangover.

But I haven't been drinking.

I've had to cancel plans for the next two nights, and I've come over the years to hate being a big flakey plan cancelling bastard, but the lurgy's got me good and proper this time.

I suppose Arthur's Day will come to pass again in 2259 and there is the added blessing that that fucking 'To Martha' ad will never air after tomorrow, but I feel as unkempt as a spilled box of party Smarties into a puddle of deepest rank.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Incredulous

Embarking on a new relationship?

Wondering if, finally, you've met the one?

Simply text your name and the name of your new squeeze to 57757 and we'll tell you if you've got the perfect match.

SMSs cost €10 per month.

= = =

Some questions.

How, HOW is this shit legal?

What fucking dingletwig would fall for such a ruse?

What's this €10 a month crap?

And don't get me started on their 'perfect baby name' promotion.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Take out a page from an ordinary sized copy

"Come here 'til I drink you."

I spake these words with great repetition last night. What had been intended as a quiet few jars with Terence, the brother-in-law (he loves when I call him that) and McMuck swelled to a portion of ten or twelve or however many of us embracing eejitry and liquor.

Oh mercy but it was a drunkening and sure to be my last for a while as the good people at the old educating place want me to shape young minds again.

Starting back with the lecturing next week, donning the elbow patches to spout forth on matters sport and journalism. It's a terrifying prospect what with the demands of two sets of Masters students, higher brow than I've attempted before, the loomingness of it driving me to drink and today's wretched hangover.

I'm off to the bibliotheque.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sing Hallelujah!

Oh it's a glorious day, a fine day to be shafted by the government. Before I go smilingly about my day I think I'll write a little poem.

Fuck off NAMA.
Fuck off Jordan.
Fuck off Peter Andre.
Fuck off Brian Lenihan.

Do one, Liam Carroll.
Do one, John O'Donoghue.
Do one, Cowen.
Do one, Anglo Irish Bank.

Roll over, Taxpayers.
Take this, Taxpayers.
You love it, Taxpayers.
Let's cuddle, Taxpayers.

I'll be singing all the way to the bus stop.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More plugs

I could reproduce my review of tonight's Dylan Moran show at Vicar Street verbatim or I could be a complete pain in the arse and tell you to go here to read it.

I choose the latter, if only so I can practice my linking skills.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The mail order maestro

I gave up taxi stories some time back - I should never read my negative reviews - but I'm breaking my fast.

I was tired, irritable, hungry and anxious to escape the City Centre so I hailed a taxi at the multi-dildoed Ulster Bank complex on the quays. We got chatting about work and the fact that I got let go in June.

I told him I was filling my days engaging in a bit of writing while doing my very least to find some new full-time employ.

"Do you know what you should write about? An article that, if it's written, will definitely make you a few bob..."

"What's that," I asked.

"Plugs."

"Plugs?"

"Plugs. When you buy an electric toothbrush they still come with those two-pronged plugs and no modern bathroom has an outlet for them. It's a disgrace. It's completely senseless..."

"Senseless, yeah..."

"It is. Yeah, you really get it. It's ridiculous! Stupid! I mean, if you write about that you'll be well on your way."

I figured he was taking the piss.

"That's a great idea."

"It really is, I mean I've never seen an article written about that and it's a real scandal, y'know?"

"I follow, yeah. Great stuff. I'll write it as soon as you drop me home. Maybe I'll win a Pulitzer!"

"Ah now, you'd hardly win a Pulitzer, but you'd definitely make a few quid for yourself."

He then went into detail about how to make a 'delicious chicken fried rice,' handed down to him by his mail order bride from Uganda, so it wasn't a completely lost cause.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just don't accredit me

I've been asked to write a guest blog somewhere, elsewhere, on the intersphere.

"Write anything you want! Go mad! No football though," I was telt in terms not uncertain.

Now that's all very well until all manner of ideas start jumbling into my head at stupid o'clock in the morning, forcing me computer-wards when - in some parallel sex life - I'd be doing appalling things to and/or with Zooey Deschanel.

(Yes, her again and no, I won't get over it anytime soon.)

I had a fucking great idea for this guest blog about an hour and a half ago, which coincided with 5.30 in the morning. I got up, brushed my teeth, put on a pot of coffee, checked my email and opened up Word.

If you saw, if you could only SEE the garbled load of nonsensewank that came frightened from my fingers. It was pish.

However, I will persist. You'll have your guest blog, unidentified mysterion, you'll have your guest blog.

Just don't accredit me.

Thanks.

Monday, September 07, 2009

In a green raincoat

I thumb through your CDs while you stand at the worktop, your worktop, doing something to asparagus.

Rod Stewart.
The Beatles.
Simon And Garfunkel.
Dirty Dancing soundtrack.
Emmylou Harris.
Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks.
Joe Dolan.

I smile.

"That's not mine, that's..." you trail off without looking over and I get up to prowl around your living space. I knock my leg off the table and a plant falls over somewhere else in the room. Behind me.

Disoriented, I examine your books. No Marian Keyes. No Cathy Kelly. No easy reads, just dictionaries and old covers, some travel books and journals. Folders and files and biographies of ordinary people who did remarkable things.

I see the picture of you with your dad when you were...

"I was six, I think," you say without my asking. "That's my favourite one of the two of us."

There are no other pictures, just the things that, in their own curious way, have led to you standing there with a plain white tea-towel, looking at me looking at your life, mischief in your eyes and calling me nosey.

"Make yourself useful," you hand me the wine.

We sit, I pour, we eat. I have to ask.

"Joe Dolan?"

"Shut up."

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Secrets of the stars and something about a dwarf

Fernando Torres has a Facebook page but he uses the name 'Ruel Fox.'

If you look sideways at a dwarf, then look the other way, then look again, then look away, then take one final sideways glance, nothing happens.

Amanda Brunker is the love-child of Twink and Derek Davis, but both refuse to talk about it. Ronan Collins knows but he was made to sign something at gunpoint.

Al Pacino and Mick Lally are not related after all.

Scarlett Johansson once had a summer job in Quinnsworth in Drumcondra.

It is impossible to lick Natalie Portman's elbow, though that didn't stop me trying (one fateful summer).

Sigourney Weaver has never, in her entire lifetime, been to Bray.

Madonna has a stash of Marathon bars that is just about to run out. She's allergic to Snickers.

I don't know who Zac or Zak Efron is.

Kelsey Grammer was second choice to play Dr. Frasier Crane when James Burrows was casting for 'Cheers.' He only got the role when Ringo Starr turned it down.

The actor Tony Curtis was once third choice to take over the vacant manager's position at Rotherham United.

Kevin Costner came up with the concept of NAMA.

Yesterday, Zooey Deschanel googled herself and came across this site, but within three seconds she'd clicked off as she couldn't see my face in the picture. Plus, she's engaged to the singer from Death Cab For Cutie.

Gordon Ramsay once fought off Barbra Streisand for the last pair of black Speedos in TK Maxx.

Sky Sports News presenter Millie Clode wants my mobile telephone number, and I've had to refuse her as a friend on Facebook twice.

Tom Selleck and Ben Stiller regularly watch Japanese porn together.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Radge replies: Andrew's problem

Andrew writes: 'Dear Uncie Radge,

I'm living a fine life at the moment. I'm a recession-proof sex demon and I'm pounding many of Dublin's highest quality babes on a regular basis.

Glenda Gilson? Check.
Sharon ní Bheoláin? Twice last week.
Katy French? One of the best, God rest her.

But a couple of months back I was driving through Cabra (quickly, like) and saw that this chubby bird in a pink Juicy Couture tracksuit. Hair tied back so tight it looked like it was going to tear her forehead and sovereign earrings dangling from her lobes. She had the lot, Uncie Radge. Yet I found myself getting the horn.

Ever since then I've been hankering after an old dirtbird or five all the fucking time. I'm mad into it now. I'll end up banging a traveller if this doesn't stop soon, a traveller!

Help me, Uncie Radge, you're my only hope.'

= = =

Radge replies: 'Thanks so much for the letter, Andrew. Living in Cabra, as I do, I have been better placed than most to see the allure of what is known as the Cabran lioness.

When Fr. John Cabra founded the citadel in early 1906, he brought with him a potion hewn from the spunk of the particularly sexual Mongolian zebras with whom he had cohabited in the early part of the 20th century. As an aside, a little known fact is that T-Rex wrote a song based on the bestial predilections of the wayward cleric.

Upon his arrival in Ireland, Fr. Cabra found the ecosphere ill-suited to his needs and searched high and wide and far and central until he arrived at the North Dublinic wastelands, as they weren't known at the time.

Combining his particular brand of jungle juice with the waters of the Royal Canal to be found nearby, he began applying his saucy little mixtures to the earliest prototypes of the common baby's bottle.

The solution remains pretty much the same, though it has been tweaked with Linden Village and TK Red Lemonade for added zip (by some, not all) since the 1980s.

There are some curiousome side effects, such as a second skin of pink (Fr. Cecil Unique's patenting of same for his clothing enterprise brought about some litigation in the '70s, which he won and followed up with the somewhat vivid clothing line you'll see, day to day, in and around the Ilac Centre) and somewhat wayward eye make-up, as well as the obligatory ponytail.

However, and this is the crucial part, certain (some, not all) find these Cabran lionesses irresistible in the sexy sex sense. Studies have shown that studies cannot explain this phenomenon but I, once, got stymied by a 'lady' by the name of Bags Lynch back in the 70s and had to venture to Mongolia in the seeking of an antidote that, thankfully, worked.

My flopsweat, however, has never been cured.

While Ryanair are yet to open their Mongolian trail, I do know of travel arrangements that can be made. Email me directly and, all being well, you will never again fall as prey to the Cabran lioness.

I hope this helps and, Andrew, be well.

Radge, having replied.'

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Love's young dream

From the 'Ask Adri' feature at the back of Saturday's Irish Independent weekend supplement. The 'Ask' is italicised for extra oomph, which is a word that people like Adri seem to be particularly fond of.

J, Blackrock writes: 'Dear Adriana, I've met a man who I think could be the one! I'm 32 and have been single for three years. I had started to think I was never going to meet anyone, when a friend introduced me to this man. He is 35, owns his own house and earns a really good salary. We've been seeing each other for a couple of months, and last week he invited me to his house for dinner - but he opened the door in a pair of tartan granddad slippers. It was an instant passion killer and now I can't stop seeing him as a fuddy-duddy and imagining what our lives will be like in 10 years. Am I being petty?'

Adriana Trigiani, who has written heartwarming novels such as 'Lucia, Lucia' and 'Very Valentine' - oh, and who also counts as a housemate Sex And The City writer Michael Patrick King, who has based much of the series on the life of our Adri - responds thusly...

'Dear J, yes, you are being ever so petty. But this is your job when you are sussing out the right life partner. When it comes to your future you cannot be too petty or too picky. Time will tell if this man is the one. In the meantime, pick him up a pair of slippers that are aesthetically pleasing to you. But remember: When you do this, you open the door to allowing him to ask you to wear something that pleases him. Good luck! Adri!'

Right.

The transcribation portion of the evening has ended. Allow me to editorialise. No, fuck that, I'm still unemployed and fast running out of options, so consider this an Agony Uncle audition.

Radge writes: 'Dear J, you are three years single, yes? Well that's easily explained. You are ill equipped to be a human being. I can only surmise that your previous boyfriend died of self-death. The poor lamb, probably called Gavin, your very own little piece of rugby shirt sporting hottyness, your sounding board, your BT2 clothes horse, chewed out his own intestines while you were straightening your hair in the spare bedroom.

Didn't he J? Didn't he? He was tired. Bless. Tired from hearing about Rebecca, and how Colm was being a complete 'mare' to her. Tired from trying not to look like a pederast while you shopped with the kiddies in Oasis. Tired from... Just fucking tired.

So you're in a bind now, yeah? This new fella, we'll call him Shane and his mates call him Shano, has made a few quid working in Deloitte.

He's borrowed his way to a plush pad overlooking some club full of hotties that, itself, overlooks Temple Bar from a garden terrace. He's not a bad lad, is old Shano, despite his predilection for chinos, Gordon D'Arcy posters and comfortable footgear to potter over his chestnut floors in.

You say you can't stop imagining what your lives would be like in 10 years?

Well, J, if you're trying to convince me that you hadn't married his magnificently appointed D2 villa the second you laid your serpent eyes on it, please desist.

He's got a small cock, hasn't he? I'm afraid I can't help you unless you're honest.

Yours deprecatingly, Radge Exclamation Mark.'

Whew, I enjoyed that. Better than spinning, that.

Send me your letters.