Are you Feeling the Burn? 21st Century American Politics through the medium of Smoothie

Well that’s a mouthful – and welcome back!

When I’m not toiling away at the new job, tending to the next generation of genii, or mixing up a metaphor or two – my mind wanders. Imma hearing & seeing all good things about Colonel Bernie Sanders (via Facebook mostly) and I sense that he’s taken a leaf outta Obama’s “Big Book of Winning” and got his southern fried ass onto Social Media toot sweet.

“Feel the Bern” they tell me.  “America shouldn’t be run by the Billionaires” they tell me. And no doubt that’s all true – but where are the answers Bernie? How are you going to shut down Gitmo? How are you going to take the guns out of all those idiots’ hands (and the murderers too). I’m hearing the propaganda (I had to check my definition – yes, it was taken from the “big book of definitions written by old, white men a long time ago” – just a disclaimer) but I’m not feeling it.

Time to fire up the Blender of Truth!

Maybe I can make sense of this dilemma through the medium of Smoothie?

I’m calling this one “Feel the Burn” in honour of Senator Sanders’ bid for the White House (or at least the Democrat ticket for the bid for the White House).

As I’m a newbie smoothie chef, t’internet must provide the recipe. A few key ingredients googled later and it’s “Men’s Health” magazine which offers the following irresistible “Fat Burning” elixir.

Ooh – a miracle drink. It burns your fat and makes you thin. Whatever next? Gorgeous.

I call it: “Feel the Burn #1”

9 x strawberries (at the height of their powers …..right ….. NOW)
100 ml Turkish Yoghurt (only 10% fat, but better than 0% . I suppose)
Half a chilli (deseeded)
Frozen Blackberries (I had ’em already blended, sieved and frozen – don’t suffer the pip people)
1 frond of Kale
400 ml of cold Green Tea (requires forethought, or an impatient hour slamming freezer doors)

feel the burn 1

Looks fabulous doesn’t it? Pink & frothy – wonderfully placematted with Marilyn via Warhol (did you know you can pick up a “second run” Warhol print of Marilyn down in the fabulous SE1, for £900? WANT!)

… except it tastes like shit.

Life is too short for a sour pink drink. It’s not at all hot, it is watery and without any body and let’s face it – it was never gonna get mine back into a bikini. It’s PROPAGANDA in a goddamned cup.

If my “Frozen Monkey” triumph (Facebooked on a whim; to be repeated here in the Autumn) is a 9/10 – this disappointment is a 2 point meh. I don’t know about you – but I don’t trust food that looks “All that and Dim Sum” yet hides a paltry performance on the tongue.

I think what Bernie is trying to tell me via my Blender, is that you can’t judge a book by its cover (well that’s an age-old proverb and I think I knew that already, thanks Bernie) but also – that I can do better than some hack at “Men’s Health”, if only I would “persevere”, trust the taste in my own mouth and find the truth. It’s out there.

I give you: Feel the Burn #2

6 x strawberries
1 x large granny smith apple, cored; skin on
2 x large chillies and leave the seeds in (DO NOT do this. My chillies were essentially Capsicums wearing a chilli suit. Yours will be hotter so you should start out with 1 chilli + seeds and take it from there)
3 x slices of sliced tinned mango
1 x pitted medjool date (Who moved Medjools?)
1 x frond Kale
100ml Green Tea (lukewarm, with ice cubes; only so much perseverance in my kitchen)
200 ml coconut milk
leaves of mint

feel the burn 2

Huh? Huh? Looks like a cup of curry, doesn’t it? I have styled it accordingly with a nod to our local “Mogul Dynasty” and it was met with knitted eyebrows from my tasters.

Trust me – it tastes good. It’s a 7/10 now. It has most of the “miracle” properties of #1 (so if ever those claims of ‘fat burning’ are true, you’re not turning your fat back on them) with a bit more sugar via the dates and mangoes (sue me). The coconut adds a little Hawaiian slide-guitar into the mix.

So what does it all mean? In the Great Big Smoothie of 21st Century American Politics, all that is Pink & Frothy is not delicious and sometimes, you gotta make an ugly drink to “Feel the Bern”.

I Felt my Burn – how about you?

Next week: Apple Corbyn-tini

Can I have some more, Please? The Great Porridge Renaissance


What’s cooking?

A coupla weeks back, I hankered for a new dish of sorts. It was brunch-time, I had a few minutes and my Rotunda (it’s the elaborate name I use for the rotating shelf in my kitchen) held the necessaries.

I went online, as you do, and found this recipe from The Guardian. Now, you can go there and read Felicity Cloake’s version of “Perfect Porridge” or you can read + see what happens in the real world, when you try to do it yourself.

If you no wanna cook (not really cooking though is it?) then head down to the Porridge Cafe, opening early March, somewhere around Old Street, London ( where they are cooking up all types of weird & wonderful, sweet & savoury Porridges. Back to me!

I call it: Porridge

For 2 peeps (halve it down for one, it works):

1/2 cup coarse oatmeal (50g)

1/2 cup medium oatmeal (50g)

1 cup whole milk (200 ml) – I use semi-skimmed, Purists don’t use any! Eek!

2 cups water (400 ml)

2 pinches of salt

Honey + Greek Yoghurt to serve.

“It’s just Porrdige love.
Yes, but it’s what you DO with it ….” 
The Castle (reimagined)

1. Get dem oats and tip into a non-stick fry pan. Turn the hob on a medium heat and cook until someone rushes in, asking if you’re making popcorn. That’s the aroma you’re going for. They should look a bit brown too. NO OIL – just the oats.

2. Tip the browned/fragrant oats into a heavy saucepan (I like a Le Creuset, but then, who doesn’t?). Tip the milk/water on top and turn the heat on high, until the mixture bubbles. Turn it down to low, still bubbling, just not quite as furiously as before.

3. Get your phone, scroll through some social media for 10 minutes. Make sure you’re stirring the porridge. You can’t walk away from this, you must be present. In the moment, mindful of the Porridge (Yet tweeting about something unrelated) Not me, I’m tweeting about the Porridge.

4. Many schools of thought on “When is it Done?”. This is my School of Porridge: when the bubbles start leaping out of the saucepan expressly to burn you, they’re trying to tell you something. The liquid is mostly absorbed. It sticks together and makes a blobby shape (esp when you spoon it into a bowl later on). You can also try tasting the oats, for “bounce”. Complete mush is not my thing – so I like a little bounce-back on those oats. I think your colon does too. Best not to mention colon in a recipe though.

5. Throw in the salt & stir it up – give it a minute to collect its thoughts …… and then spoon into 1 or 2 bowls.

6. Don’t leave it like that! The winter wonderland of this dish is the juxtaposition between the salty nutty oats and the sweetness of the honey and the tangy creamy yoghurt. Just so you know – “Greek Style” yoghurt from the supermarket is not as good as “Greek” yoghurt made in Greece. Use whatever you can get though – it’s all good. Sometimes, I’m able to fashion the British Isles out of the yoghurt. Not on this occasion, sadly.

Here are some pics to help you through the process – you will be hard pressed to find a better dish for the wintry weather ahead. DO let me know how you get on – I am yet to see Singapore on my WordPress map of world domination. I know it’s hot down there – turn up the aircon! #justsayin Click the “comments” icon at the top of the post. Got to run, I smell popcorn.

Toast the oats. See them browning at the edge? Jiggle the pan so they don’t burn. Photo: Vortex of Bloggery
Yes, it looks like too much liquid to begin with. It’s not. Photo: Vortex of Bloggery
I’ve been burnt a few times by the bubbles by now. Off with the heat. See the tidemark on the saucepan? That’s how much it’s reduced down. Photo: Vortex of Bloggery
Yes, that is salt. 2 pinches. In it goes. Photo: Vortex of Bloggery
Stir in salt and it looks a lot less liquidy now. Let it be, let it be, let it be oh let it be. Sing that song and it’ll be done by the time you are. (Maybe just a verse + chorus) Photo: Vortex of Bloggery
Good? You call that good? That’s not good ….. Photo: Vortex of Bloggery
Ta Da! Bon Appetit. Photo: Vortex of Bloggery