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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Fry Up

Hope that everyone had a great Christmas!

Thank crunchie for yoga pants - they are the perfect attire during the holiday season with marathon meal sessions.  I plan to pry myself away from the telly and my tin of Roses chocolates to make a Boxing Day Fry Up.

I love to cook, but my commute and ten hour days puts a damper on meal preparation.  When I come home during the week I want something FAST!  So when I get the opportunity to spend time making a meal, I like to make an event out of it (as you can see from some of my previous blog posts) complete with cocktails and music.

On Christmas Day, I pretty much make enough food to feed a small army.  Yesterday I cooked a turkey AND a ham, plus all of the trimmings and I loved every minute of it. 

However, if I'm totally honest, the meal that I really look forward to during the holiday season is the annual Boxing Day Fry Up.  I fry the left over ham and make a big, heaping batch of "Bubble and Squeak" out of left over mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts.

Every U.K. resident, descendant and ex-pat has their own take on Bubble and Squeak, but the main ingredients are always potato and cabbage.  The name is suppose to refer to the sound that the ingredients make when they are being fried - however, I think it suppose to refer to the sounds that you make after digestion.

The Lassie's Boxing Day Bubble and Squeak

Leftover mashed potatoes
Leftover brussel sprouts - chopped
Leftover stuffing (optional)
Leftover vegetables (this year I threw in roasted parsnips)
1/2 onion chopped
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp butter or margarine

Heat 1 tbsp of butter (or margarine) in a large frying pan or skillet.  Add chopped onion and brussel sprouts for one - two minutes.  Remove from pan and place in a large bowl.   Add the mashed potatoes, paprika and stuffing and misc. left over vegetables (if using) .  Mix until thoroughly combined.   Heat remaining tbsp of butter (or margarine) until very hot.   Add mixture turning occasionally. 

Serve with HP Sauce and fried ham.

To accompany our fry up, we had a lovely Kahlua Peppermint Mocha latte.

Now you have a good base in you to go out and hit the Boxing Day sales!  Myself, I plan to return to the telly and my Roses.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Joy to the Wor'd!

Joy to the Wor'd yo! Here's a wee top ten list of my favourite holiday tunes that are off the beaten track.


10. Little Drummer Boy - The Dandy Warhols
(This video deeply disturbs me - but I love the song)

9. Christmas Was Better in the 80's - The Futureheads
(well wasn't everything???)

8. Father Christmas - The Kinks


7. 2000 Miles - The Pretenders

6. Merry Christmas (I don't wanna fight tonight) - The Ramones

5. Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses

4. I wish it was Christmas today - Julian Casablancas
(The Strokes front man looking like a total git on the album cover, but what a kick ass song!)


3. I wish it could be Christmas everyday - Wizzard

2. Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade

1. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
(*sigh* poor Kirsty MacColl....)

Merry Christmas!  Hope that yours is happy & healthy.   Peace on Earth out.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

End of the World Poutine

I received an interesting invitation to lunch from my work mate Sarah.  The subject title on the e-mail read "End of the World Poutine".  Sarah's philosophy was that if in fact December 21, 2012 really is the end of the world, then why not go out with a bang.  And by bang, she meant having your heart explode from eating high-fat, high-calorie, sodium-packed, artery-clogging, better bring your own defibrillator poutine.  So I accepted and off we went to Smoke’s Poutinerie ( on Adelaide Street. 

The 2,300 year old Maya Long Count Calendar supposedly ends on December 21, 2012.  Doomsday prophets interpret this as the end of civilization.  There are several different scenarios on how this will all go down – chaos in the earth’s magnetic field, giant supernova (ooh, a champagne one??), alien invasion and zombie apocalypse (good thing I am an avid fan of The Walking Dead in case that I need to channel my inner Michonne). 

One of the most infamous doomsday charlatans was Marshall Applewhite.  Applewhite was the leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult who predicted that the world would end on March 26, 1997.  He brainwashed his followers into participating in a mass suicide so that they could board a spacecraft trailing the Comet Hale-Bopp-- which was allegedly being flown by his deceased wife.  This information was obtained by aliens who spoke to him...through episodes of Star Trek.  Applewhite had also programmed  his followers to assimilate; they dressed the same, they all had the same hair cut and they all ate the same food.  When he and his 38 followers were found dead, they were all wearing the same Nikes and black uniforms.  He had also talked his male  followers into voluntary castration.    

After eating the poutine, end of the world paranoia started to get to me.   I began noting similarities between Applewhite and Sarah.  She watches Star Trek... and for a young urban professional she seems to know a lot about spaceships...and zombie apocalypses.  Last night she e-mailed us and said to wear stretchy pants today (hello, classic wardrobe brainwashing here!!).  And, her choice of restaurant resulted in us all eating the same that will most certainly bring us to heaven's gate.  Will the day end with me wearing a shapeless black outfit, bad footwear and sporting a bowl cut?  And the castration?  Well, that's Peter's worry - let him sort that out...


Thankfully my rational side kicked in.  An excess of sodium in your system creates a fluid imbalance that can cause mental confusion (true fact --look it up!).  Alas the paranoia is due to the sodium overload in my body.  I fully expect to wake up Friday morning - with lingering indigestion and weighing a bit more than I did when I went to sleep - sans Nikes.

Veggie Nacho Poutine

Triple Pork Poutine with Sausage, Pulled Pork & Bacon (aka The John Candy)

Bacon Poutine & Shepard's Pie Poutine

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Tainted (cork) Love

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This week marked round two of adventures in wine making.  Having bottled our fist batch of Amarone back in October, I quite fancy myself as a character from the movie "Sideways".

Bottling under the direction of the Brew Time ( staff was just as much fun as the first time.  Our new batch of "Bitch n' Wine" is an Italian Pinot Grigio.  And it is yummy if I do say so myself. 

When we bottled the Amarone, we had selected plastic corks.  The theory is that plastic corks are a better choice because they are the best measure to prevent wine spoilage.  However, the plastic corks are are real pain to get out of the bottle and they do not fit back in the bottle once removed. 

We seriously considered using the natural cork variety for this batch.  There is something psychological about a natural cork - one just assumes that the wine is of better quality compared to a bottle of vino topped with a plastic cork or a screw top.  God forbid, the classy box 'o' wine. The thing is, a great wine can't be judged by it's packaging. A great wine is determined by your own personal tastes. 

After reading various wine articles on wine, a natural cork has a 5% chance of spoilage which is known as "cork taint".  And no, a "cork taint" is not the area between the top of the wine level and the bottom of the cork - get your minds out the gutter.  It is the term given to spoiled wine that has a "damp basement smell" that is caused by a bacteria in the cork. 

In the end we decided that taking a few more seconds to remove the plastic cork (and hurl curses at it) was better than potentially losing some of our inventory.

As we are now hooked on making wine, we have plans for 2013 batches of Chardonnay and Sangiovese.  For those of you who play the stock market, I highly suggest investing in Proctor & Gamble shares based on all of the Crest White Strips that I am going through with the consumption of the Amarone, coupled with the upcoming Sangiovese.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

"Yule" Shoot Your Eye Out

Oh fudge!  I wish that I had the time to visit NYC right now.   From now until December 30th you can catch Broadway’s tribute to my ultimate favourite Christmas movie – “A Christmas Story – The Musical”.  It’s playing at the Lunt-Fontanne theatre on 46th Street, which is an absolutely beautiful venue.  Ooh, I want to go so bad!! 
I am very curious about the music in the Broadway show.   What scenes do you think will be turned into musical numbers? *Sigh* Ah, well.  I will just have to content myself to watching the movie for the umpteenth time.  To ease my sorrows, I christened the following cocktail, “Yule" Shoot Your Eye Out!” 

The non-alcoholic recipe came from a former boss of mine.  Once when I had the flu, she recommended a drink that her mom would make for her when she was a little girl and feeling poorly.  She said that it would help ease my throat.  The drink was a combination of honey, lemon and ginger ale warmed in the microwave.  She was right!  However, I discovered that when you microwave ginger ale, it becomes like, twenty times more effervescent.  The bubbles literally pop out of your mug all over your face.  So, I thought, why not "Irish it up" a bit?  Hence the inspiration for the name.

"Yule" Shoot Your Eye Out!

½ can ginger ale
1 tbsp honey
1 wedge of lemon
1 oz. brandy

Place ginger ale, honey and brandy in a microwave safe mug.  Squeeze the juice out of the lemon wedge.  Microwave for 1 minute.  Put on eye protection and enjoy.  Try it tonight.  I triple dog dare you!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Around the World in 80 Beers

Although I am a huge proponent of the revitalisation of downtown Hamilton, I am saddened that Chester's will be a gentrification casualty. Chester's Beers of the World has been a landmark in Hamilton's Gore Park since the early 1980's -- the decor has not changed since the bar opened, but that is part of the charm. 

Chester's is a beer lovers wet dream.  Their selection is quite extensive with a beer menu that lists hundreds of selections alphabetically by country.   The staff are extremely knowledgeable and are quick to offer suggestions if you are overwhelmed by their selection.  All beers are served in their proper glassware.

A developer is purchasing a block of builidings in Gore Park and Chester's days are numbered. They have until February until they have to relocate. Development is great news for downtown Hamilton residents, but not so much for the owner Michael and his great staff.   However, it may not be game over just yet. There is talk of Michael taking over a smaller space next door to their current location. Fingers crossed that this pans out. Chester's has a loyal clientele base (us included) who would not be pleased with their demise.

Hacker Pshcorr Weisse from Germany is my "go to" beer at Chester's

Lesley had the Delirium Tremens from Belgium - and at 8.5% got a little delirious afterwards
 Rich had the Keller bier and The Fella had Bitburger, both from Germany

I love Gore Park at Christmas!

Drinking your way around the world would not be complete without a stop at the Polish Sausage cart.    Where is the Polish Sausage cart you ask--well, a description of the location is fraught with bad jokes.  The cart is located outside The Embassy Bar --a gay bar that only has an entrance in the rear (please, I know) and it is THE BEST sausage in town (this is killing me).  The owners make their own sausage. There is no fillers, dyes, or any other lips & ass hole combinations that usually go into sausages & hot dogs. The result is delicious.

Waiting in anticipation!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Oh Christmas Tree (An Urban Tale)

Since moving from a house to a veal pen in the sky, I had to say goodbye to my Christmas tree. It was 6' tall and almost 5' wide and unless I wanted to put my sofa in storage for the holiday season, I would have to look for some sort of alternative.  So I began reading blog tips on selecting the perfect Christmas tree...

Select the correct size of tree for your home--
OK then, supermodel size--something tall and skinny that will not require feeding

Decide on the species of tree--
I am no tree botanist, but I think the pseudo-Latin species name for my perfect tree is "artificial pre-lit coniferous" and be indigenous to factories in China

Put lights on first --
Or select an indigenous species that already contains them (see note above)

Select a theme for your tree--
Since I am a drag queen trapped in a woman's body, nothing screams holiday more than "Liza"!  Complete with top hat and high heels and fishnet netting

If you choose an artificial tree, do not try to pass it off as a real tree --
I'm thinking that the fact it is champagne coloured & glittery pretty much indicates that the jig is up.



Saturday, 1 December 2012

Walking Dead (S3) Mid-season finale

Ooh, big night tomorrow!  It’s the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead.  Let me tell you NOTHING will be getting done in my place tomorrow night between 9pm – 10pm when it airs.  How juicy will the cliff hanger be this year?  Last year's mid-season finale ended with the walkers being let out of Hershel's barn..and the big reveal of Sophia's whereabouts. 

I had a lovely themed meal planned for me and The Fella for the occasion. Unfortunately, my surprise emergency appendectomy put a wrench into the plan. Really not up for red meat & alcohol just yet. 
Here was the menu.  Since I did not make it, there are no pictures to share. 

The Walking Dead Menu

Main Course


2 ½ pounds stewing beef
2 onions chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
10 mushrooms chopped
¾ tsp sea salt
Pepper (to taste)
1 tsp paprika
Dash hot sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup red wine (1 tbsp reserved)
½ cup flour
1 tbsp olive oil
Heat olive oil in a pan.  Dredge the beef in the flour and brown the beef on all sides.   Place beef in a slow cooker.    Use the reserved tablespoon of red wine to deglaze the pan and add drippings to the slow cooker along with all other ingredients.  Stir ingredients and cook on low for 4 – 6 hours.  Serve on top of noodles or mashed potatoes.


Dirty Governor Martini

2 shots of vodka
1 shot of tomato juice
2 tbsp olive juice
1 tbsp vermouth
2 olives
In a cocktail shaker combine vodka & tomato juice. Shake. Add olive juice & vermouth and olives. Shake.   Pour & Serve.


Walkers shortbread (the joke is so obvious). OK, I will indulge on a wee slice of this as a treat.

But I am up for getting glammed up for the event....


I love these Iron Fist shoes.  Seriously, for me they are very versatile.  Unfortunately I can only get away with wearing them once a year to the office at Halloween.


I will be cracking out my "I like you for your brains" shirt that I bought at K-Mart on a cross border shopping trip.   I love this shirt but it sheds glitter everywhere.   My sofa will end up looking like I just had a house party with The Village People.
Now we have to wait how many weeks for Season 3 to resume?