Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Let's hear it for Volunteer Fire Brigades

They do a stirling job and none moreso than the brigades of Central Hawke's Bay. Yesterday they averted a potential disaster after a glider crash on an airfield.

I have outlined a part of the photo in red. This is the site of a large AV-Gas installation which includes both above ground and below ground gas tanks. If the AV-Gas had gone up, then a fair portion of the housing you can see would have been devastated.

Included in the blast would have been the fuel tanks for two gas stations and a processing plant. If they had gone off, then most of the town would probably have been wiped out.

Click on the photo for a larger view.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Chicken and Brie Pie

Original Recipe
(my adjustments follow on)

1 small cooked chicken (cooled)
4 sheets flaky or filo pastry (need more filo)
1 onion
1 tblsp butter
1 large bunch spinach / silverbeet roughly chopped
1/2 teaspn grated nutmeg
250gm sour cream
1 egg
150g brie, thinly sliced

Discard fat and skin from chicken and roughly dice meat. Line a deep sided pie dish with pastry, covering bottom and sides. Saute onion in butter until soft, add spinach and nutmeg, cook till all liquid has evaporated. Spread over pastry base. Cover with chicken meat. Blend sour cream, egg and salt/pepper and pour over top. Cover with slices of brie. Cover with pastry and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes then 170 degress for 25 minutes - basically until pastry is golden.

My adjustments:

4 chicken breasts with the skin removed. melt a little butter in a saute pan with a lid. Put chicken in, sprinkle with sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper, turn over and repeat. Squeeze in juice of one lemon, swirl it round the pan and put the lid on. Poach for 20-25 minutes on low-medium heat turning once.

This provides you with 4 beautifully flavoured chicken breasts which can then be used in a variety of recipes or eaten as they are (hot or cold). You also have a quantity of lemon/chicken stock for use in other dishes or: Occasionally I throw in a handful of roughly chopped spring onions and parsley towards the end of cooking. Combine with a bit of cream and you have an excellent sauce. A splash of white wine can be used instead of lemon juice.

Dice chicken into cubes about 1-1.5 cm across.

I often use 2 small onions and saute until soft in olive oil. If using spinach I don't cook until all the liquid is gone. I wash the spinach and dry it extremely well (salad spinner dry) and then just push it around in the pan with the onions until mixed. Any more than that and it goes squishy and loses colour etc.

I will also use 2 eggs with the sour cream as it gives a better consistency when cooked.

I also use two small rounds of brie. Some of it gets eaten as it is being sliced or layered on the top of the pie.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Orchestrated Goodbye

"Ok. You all stand in a line over there and wave goodbye as the helicopter takes off."

I hate orchestrated crap like this. It's such a fake. It's like some pissy children's story.

Goodbye, Mr Bush

... and they all waved goodbye to Mr Bush as he flew away in the helicopter and everyone lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Disappearing Posts

I have been requested by a central government organisation to remove a number of posts on a particular subject. I have agreed to do this. This isn't a form of censorship and there has been no pressure applied. It's all in a good cause.

I will put them back up as soon as I can.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

R.I.P. Ron Asheton

Guitarist for Iggy and The Stooges. Dead at the age of 60. Ron was pretty much the founder of 2 or 3 chord rock and roll and a huge influence (along with Iggy and the rest of The Stooges) on punk. If you are into punk of any decade, you should have a serious listen to "The Stooges" (released in 1969), "Funhouse" (1970) and "Raw Power" (1973).

Saturday, 3 January 2009

The Past I : Moments of Weirdness

As soon as I saw the pig sitting on the couch I should have known the weekend would hold its moments of weirdness. In hindsight I should have realised it was telling me something but realisation after the fact is the only thing hindsight is good for.

We were in Upper Hutt, a city in New Zealand, for a wedding. I had walked into my friend's house and the pig was sitting there along with J, her husband T and her two children. They were watching TV and waiting for us to arrive. J used to acquire animals. At this point in time she had dogs, cats, ducks, geese, chickens, a goat and, now, a kuni kuni pig. All on a regular (but large) suburban property in an up-market area of Upper Hutt. She used to put the pig on a lead and take it for walks around the district.

Camille and I sat and chatted to J for some hours, catching up on the gossip about various acquaintances The most interesting bit was that Elaine/Allen had booked in for a double mastectomy as the next step in the transformation from female to male. Elaine used to be a reasonably normal, heterosexual woman until her marriage split. Now she was in the process of redesigning herself as Allen,a gay male. Elaine always did throw herself into her roles with enthusiasm - and to think she once wanted to be a nun.

The wedding was held at a Yacht club. It was ok as weddings go. A couple of people stood up in front of a bunch of others, said various things to each other as everyone else strained to hear. There was a wide variety of people there. The bride's family and friends , all dressed up in suits and looking very smart and straight. They seemed like a bunch of traditionalists. The groom's family and friends were a lot more casual and relaxed.

G was there. G is a tall woman with very large breasts which she thrusts at people, both male and female, in a very sexually aggressive manner. People tend to be very aware of G and try to gauge her moods. Sometimes its a good idea to give her plenty of room. I should have known that she was going to be bad when she made a pass at the bride.

We were standing outside and G was quite stoned. The bride walked past and G hit on her.

"You can't do that, G", I said. "You can't hit on the bride at a wedding. It's just not done. It's very naughty behaviour at a wedding!"

"Well, Thrash", she replied. "I do like to keep the door open" and then she pointed her breasts at me and started advancing. I beat a hasty retreat behind the rapidly receding figure of the bride.

The night went on and various things happened. G bailed various people up. My sister was thrown to the ground by a huge, aggressive lesbian who was intent on catching the bouquet. It was a strange wedding. When the bouquet was thrown it was noted that almost every woman waiting to catch it happened to be a lesbian.

We ended up back at the home of another lesbian who lives right at the end of Eastbourne where the houses run out. G, my brother and I were the first to arrive. Much to my brother's and my horror, G went very weird on us. She started chanting strange magical incantations and waving her hands at us. Yes, G claimed to be a witch and it was time to demonstrate it. I was sitting at a table bemusedly watching her casting spells when suddenly she leaped up and came up behind me and jammed the back of my head between her enormous breasts, bent over my face and started spitting on me.

Well.. I was stunned to say the least. My brother was shocked. He stood next her saying, "Oh, come on. You can't do that. You can't spit on my brother."

But she was and she thought she was doing a good thing. Very weird behaviour. In all she spat on me about half a dozen times before she realised that this probably wasn't as a good a thing as she originally thought it was.

Fortunately for us others, including Camille, arrived shortly thereafter and G started to behave herself a bit better.

I ended up stalking the streets of the industrial area of Eastborne at 7.00am looking for my car. I was lost and in a very dazed state and there were all these weird industrial noises but no traffic and no people. Every now and again I would see a dead fish lying in the road. They had been run over. It was a bit like being in a Stephen King novel.