The Unskilled and Incompetent Biker’s Cookbook

A couple of days ago, the BBC announced plans to cut costs by almost fifteen million pounds while somehow finding the cash to make itself “more distinctive”. One of the casualties of the planned cuts was its Food Website, which under the proposals would be mothballed and the recipes archived. However, after a massive outcry and an online petition, The BBC has announced that it will be keeping most of its most popular recipes online. Rather than closing down the BBC Food Website completely, most of the recipes will now be found on the BBC Good Food site. I do love a happy ending, don’t you?

At the risk of sounding bitter, I can’t remember anyone making that big a fuss a couple of years ago when my recipe website was under threat.  I will be the first to admit that recipes such as “Breadsticks and Raisins” and tips on how to hide and dispose of Potatoes might not have been for everyone, but if more people had given SafetyFoods.org a chance who knows what might have been?

As it happens I have a new batch of recipes that I have developed over the past few months.  And bonus-these ones actually have food in them! I hope you’ve bought your sense of adventure as well as appetite, constant reader. You’re about to discover how the other half that lives alone and distrusts ovens lives.

DINNER-GNOCCHI

-Time taken to cook: 5 mins.

-You will need: 1 saucepan, 1 wooden spoon, 1 packet of Dolmio sauce, a pair of scissors, Netflix

Boil some water in a saucepan. Open the packet and put the Gnocchi in the water. Cut open the packet of Dolmio sauce and put sauce in microwave for 1 minute. Strain the Gnocchi and add the sauce. Eat in front of an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelpia, ignoring the fact that even someone like Dennis seems to be better with people than you.

LUNCH-SOUP 

-Time to cook: 3 minutes.

-You will need: a tin opener, a microwave.

Really? You really need me to tell you how to do this, really? I mean Jesus you don’t even need a tin opener really. You can open tins by pulling a tab now. Okay. Fine. Open tin. Pour soup into bowl. Put bowl in microwave. Remember to cover the bowl to prevent it exploding all over the microwave. Eat. No, don’t eat the cover. God help us all.

CHICKEN LATTICE AND VEGETABLES

-Time to cook: 25 minutes

-You will need: An oven, a microwave, croquette potatoes, frozen vegetables.

Put the Lattice and Croquette potatoes on a baking tray and put them in the oven for twenty-five minutes. When you have four minutes left, put the frozen veg in the microwave and nuke those bad boys. Think about possible ideas for lunches and breakfasts. Everyone knows how to make Toast and Sandwiches. It would be silly to even try to tell people what to do, especially after that whole section about Soup. Decide to leave it alone and briefly toy with the “Breadsticks and Raisins” idea again.  Realise you have burnt your Lattice while thinking about other food. Serves you right, you culinary slut.

 

Next time: how to eat Peanut Butter straight from the jar without it getting gross.

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Washington D.C in Bullet Points: Some final Observations


This is the last blog I will publish before leaving the USA. It’s all very emotional. 

I am not going to lie and say that it was ten days of solid fun. It rained for more than half the days and meals where at times a drag beyond measure. Even now I am terrified that I will get home and find that I have put on an insane amount of weight. Which makes no sense because my clothes stil fit, but phobias are like that.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed the experience. Here are a few final thoughts before I return to England and my normal subject matter (left-wing rants and occasional passages of complete B.S.)

-Every time you enter a public building in the U.S, you must first pass through an airport-style metal detector. Every single time. Sometimes it makes sense (the U.N, Rockefeller Centre, etc) and sometimes it just seems like overkill. I mean what sort of horrible git would want to blow up a library? Exactly.

-It has stopped raining. On the day I am due to go home, it has stopped raining. FFS.

-I am not sure I want to know how much it has cost to use my tablet over here.

-Or my phone.

-Oop, Cab’s here. Best stop writing. See you later.

Washington D.C in Bullet Points: The Political Issue.


People in Washington really, really, REALLY don’t want to talk about Donald Trump.

The reaction is the same every time you try to raise the subject of Trump being elected President. An involuntary shudder, a nervous smile and a shaky “Guess we’ll see!” before the American you are talking to scuttles away like a Wizard Crab that has just heard someone say Voldemort. But at least Trump gets a reaction-mention Hilary Clinton and all that happens is a polite nod commonly associated with comments about the weather. It is as if no one can really see either of them as President but are too embarrassed to admit that they made a mistake voting for them in the primaries. 

Maybe it would be different if I had gone to another part of the country or even left my holiday a little later and gone nearer election time, but so far the overriding impression that I get is that no-one in New York or Washington D.C particularly cares who becomes President as long as it is not a man they are terrified of or a woman they simply aren’t interested in. 

Anyway. You were promised Bullet Points and by God, you shall have Bullet Points!

-You used to be able to take tours of the White House. You can’t anymore for obvious reasons, but you can still stand outside and take pictures. Which is still kind of cool, I guess.

-Something you can go inside and is very cool is the Smithsonian. Or rather Simthsonians, a collection of Museums devoted to a variety of subjects ranging from Air and Space to Natural History to even an actual Zoo. You will never be able to do them all in one day, so don’t try. But if you find yourself in Washington D.C, go to the Air and Space Museum. It is amazing in there. And it has a McDonalds if you like that sort of thing.

-If someone offers you a night tour of Washington D.C, make sure you know when and where said tour ends. Otherwise there is a chance you will end up miles away from your hotel at eleven o’clock at night without having had dinner. On a positive note, this means you can order Fajitas from Room Service when you get back to your hotel, and Fajitas are awesome. But it’s probably less expensive just to not get on the bus in the first place.

-Do go out at night if you are ever in Washington D.C. Seeing the Capital lit up is amazing. You will have to take my word for it because of my FUCKING PHONE, but trust me it is.

-People keep asking me if I have taken things from the minibar. I have not touched the minibar and wish they would stop insinuating I have.

Washington D.C in Bullet Points: Blinkin’ Lincoln.


In my previous post, I addressed the fact that apparently everyone in Georgetown, Washington D.C, is incredibly good looking. This is made even more obvious when you go out to dinner and see your fellow diners dressed to the near-perfect nines while you are in a pair of jeans and a T-Shirt you bought from a Comic Store in New York. 

Some would take this as a sign that they need to work a little bit harder on their appearance, or at the very least invest in a shirt with buttons, but why go to all that effort? All I’ve done is create a new personae to account for my unkempt and homely looks. I’m Adam Royal-Langstein, founder of Royal Langstein Tech and inventor of the Calorie Alarm App for iPhone and Android. You know your phone emits a high-pitched wail every time you get within a few feet of something over one hundred and twenty calories? That was me. You’re welcome. All I ask in return is that I can dress like someone off of a council estate and look like a burn victim who has been hit repeatedly with a meat tenderiser.

Anyway, here are some brief notes and observations from my first full day in D.C. 

-Washington D.C is SO QUIET. At least compared to New York. And London. And Sidcup, if you want the truth. Everyone is really calm, pleasant and polite. It should make me feel bad for telling them I am an Internet billionaire, but it doesn’t.

-The Lincoln Memorial is nice, but the real star of the show is the World War II memorial located at the other end of the Mall. It is a huge fountain surrounded by pillars which bare the name of each State and a wall of stars which represent the men and women who died in the conflict. Photos will come once my phone starts behaving itself.

-It should not surprise anyone that no tour company takes you to the Pentagon. It did, however, surprise my Dad. 

-The Military Cemetary at Arlington is amazing, but you can’t help but look at the rows of well-maintained graves and think that the West has learned basically nothing.

-I bought a Washington D.C hoody to go with the rest of my swag. My suitcase will never close at this rate.

-It is not raining! And it’s warm! 

Washington D.C in Bullet Points: Georgetown 


Having spent the maximum amount of time you can spend as a tourist in New York without actually moving there, I have moved on to Washington D.C. The train journey was interesting in the respect that it showed you the side of America that visitors do not tend to see. The side with ruined buildings, people openly dealing drugs on train station platforms, and Lumber Yards. Lots and lots of Lumber Yards. It’s a wonder they have any trees left in this country.

Anyway, I am staying in an absurdly nice hotel room (check out the photos on my Facebook page-you get a complimentary dressing gown, for God’s sake) in a part of the city called Georgetown. While I know you can’t judge a place by your first impressions, especially if those first impressions are of the place where the University is situated, I am going to give it a damn good go.

-The first thing you notice about Georgetown is that all the students attending the University are very good looking. All of them. I did not see a single person under at least an Eight. Are ugly people are allowed to go to Ivy League schools, or had the US education system been bought out by Abercombie and Fitch? Must Google that at some point.

-Maybe I’m still in New York mode, but it is dead quiet here. Barely any traffic, no sirens, and you can actually see the pavement as you walk along. I think if I had come here first and then gone on to New York my brain would have probably melted.

-Why are they all so pretty?! Seriously, it’s like a CW show around here. Any moment now I’m going to get pulled off the street and liquidated for being genetically inferior. And is that a yoga mat? They are pretty and they do yoga, I may as well kill myself now.

-Contrary to popular belief, some parts of Washington are fairly run down. Just a few miles away from Georgetown is Washington Heights. You do not want to go to Washington Heights. Especially if you work for the Police. It’s as though they can smell it on you. Not a pleasant experience.

-The pretty people are now eating Ice Cream. It’s official. I am in a Haagen-Das advert.

New York in Bullet Points 6: The Food Issue


And now, for your reading pleasure, the obligatory Food Blog! In previous instalments I have addressed the surprising number of Artisan Bread cafes and the idea that buying anything from a food cart will end in a case of Holiday Tummy the likes of which this world has never witnessed, but I have mostly avoided the subject. This is largely due to the fact that the one thing more annoying than seeing people upload a photograph of their meal to Instagram before they eat it are people who blog or tweet about what they have just eaten. 

However, there is only so much you can write about the U.N. building-very interesting, surprisingly chill security guards, lots of kids on school trips-and even less about my ongoing battle with iCloud photo sharing. So let’s tuck in, shall we? 

-The first thing you notice about New York is that everywhere has a Starbucks. EVERYWHERE. There are no Costa Coffee shops. No Cafe Neros. Just Starbucks. There are a couple of Pret A Mangers dotted about here and there, but if you want a Frappacino to drink whilst strolling down Madison Avenue trying desperately not to look like a tourist, then Starbucks is your only real option.

-If you are not in the mood for Coffee or Coffee-related products, then the Delis are the best place to go. Think miniature supermarkets crossed with a Subway sandwich restaurants. They sell literally everything. If you can’t find what you are looking for in one then you will probably find it in the next one down the road. They are quite cheap as well, and do both Breakfast and Lunch menus. 

-If you want Italian, go to Little Italy. If you want Asian food, go to Chinatown. If you want to eat exactly the same thing you eat at home, try one of the many British and Irish theme pubs. It’s not rocket science.

-You know, thinking about it, that is the one thing that is probably more frequent than Starbucks. British Pubs. It wouldn’t be a holiday without some bar showing Manchester United and serving Fish and Chips, but come on, how many do you need? Your average Spanish resort has fewer British Pubs than Times Square. And they all have exactly the same menu. Does that mean they are a chain or do they think we as a nation can only cook fish, chips, and sausage and mash?

-Saying that, though, the one I ate in last night did the best Tacos I have ever eaten. 

-I don’t really do Dessert. I assume they have cake and Ice Cream and all that crap, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to ask.

-I go to Washington tomorrow on the Train. If they don’t have a cart selling Cauldron Cakes and Chocolate Frogs, I will demand a refund.

New York in Bullet Points 5: The Revolution will be Televised.


Do you want to read about the Statue of Liberty? Ellis Island? Then go on Wikipedia, because this blog is all about American TV. If you go on holiday thinking that you won’t be sitting in your room channel-surfing at some point, then you are an idiot. I see that now. What I also see is that my Hotel TV receives HBO. Which means I could have watched Game of Thrones if I weren’t out actually doing something. This is exactly what happens when you don’t prioritise.  Remember readers: If you spoil  GoT for me, your life will become a never ending stream of inspirational spam. You have been warned.

Anyway, as promised, here are some observations regarding US television programming.

-The adverts come without warning. Seriously, you could be watching something and out of nowhere comes Taco Bell or a Garden Centre. It can get quite jarring, but at least there are fewer ads per break than in the UK.

-They really like Amy Schumer over here. Also Jersey Shore. This truly is a divided nation.

-Yay, new episodes of Archer!

-Boo, Christian TV channels! I don’t think I’ve seen so many crazy white males since that time I accidentally walked through an EDL march.

-Memo to US journalists: it doesn’t matter how funny it is, a YouTube clip is not news. Although I like how you do not even pretend to give a shit about the Brexit. Most refreshing.

-I should go and get dinner, but all the adverts for Taco Bell are putting me off. You can feel the grease oozing down the screen.

-It’s still raining.

New York in Bullet Points 4: Rise of the Machines


You would be very wrong in thinking that I have been following the Presidential election while I’m here in New York. I know that Donald Trump has tried to link one of his opponents to the Kennedy assassination and that Bernie Sanders is proving more popular than Hilary Clinton, but honestly the whole thing is passing me by. Which is good because I can instead use this time to tell you what I have been up to on a daily basis. You lucky little shit, you.

-If you ever find yourself in the Harlem projects, feel free to admire the architecture and rich cultural history and for the love of all that is holy do not get off the tour bus after dark.

-If you ever find yourself in the Guggenheim Museum of Art, do not refer to a very expensive piece of modern art as a “Funky Sandcastle”. 

-If you want to visit Grand Central Station, please realise that even though it puts all our UK train stations to shame, you will win no friends by standing in the middle of the stairs taking photographs.

-If you wander into Barnes and Noble, buy a book. Or two. The fact that this was on my bucket list tells you a lot about my success rate with women, sports, and life in general.

-If you want to go for a run, go to a park. Road Running is fairy impossible and will end with you smooshed under a city bus.

-If you pass an important exam and want to tell stateside family members, please remember that there is a significant time difference. We are are all very proud if you Matt, but come on, three in the bloody morning?

New York in Bullet Points 3: A Storm of Swords


American children sound really weird in real life. I was sat behind a couple on the bus yesterday and it sounded like Alvin having a conversation with the other Chipmunks. Maybe they were putting it on, I didn’t ask because that would have been odd. But still. Very annoying.

Thought that was an asinine observation? Check these bad boys out!

-Ground Zero is a pretty upsetting place. Granted, they’ve replaced the towers with two huge fountains, the One World Trade Centre and a new Subway terminal, but then you look around and see the huge amount of repair work still going on or hear an account of how even the survivors are dropping like flies because of all the ash they breathed in on the day and suddenly you feel like crying. It’s easy to see how the past decade or so happened.

-Brooklyn is a lot more cheerful, mainly due to the fact that that’s where most New Yorkers live. It is certainly the nicest looking part of town. It has Brownstones and unique little shops and trees. Actual trees.

-The Statue of Liberty is nowhere near as big as people make it out to be. I felt a bit let down, to be honest. What happened to the massive statue that they will one day find on the Planet of the Apes?

-Would you like to experience Macy’s, New York’s premier department store? Go to John Lewis and start talking like a Cowboy. 

-On no account do an open-top Bus tour in the pouring rain.

-DO NOT EAT FROM THE CARTS. I cannot stress this enough.

New York in Bullet Points 2: The Winter Soldier

Bright Lights! Roaring Crowds! Pretzels as big as a Schoolboy’s head! Yes, I am still in New York. Yes, I am over my jet lag. No, I won’t bore you with the minutiae of my day but instead will provide you with the salient points. Because you are a busy person, and I respect that. 


-It rained. Rain in New York is remarkably similar to rain in the United Kingdom. 

-Because it was raining, my travelling companions and I spent the morning at the Rockefeller Center (seen above in the photo I copied off Google Images-iCloud photo sharing is still refusing to work.) We went up to the top of the building and I took many pictures that I cannot show you at this time because of iCloud bloody photo bloody sharing.

-We also went to Trump Tower, which like the Businessman from whom it takes its name, is big, gaudy, oddly empty, and has not been renovated since the eighties. It also has a Starbucks. This is not a special achievement. Everywhere in New York has a Starbucks. 

-If you find yourself in New York on a Sunday, why not attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral? I didn’t, I know too many Monty Python jokes to sit through an entire church service. You should tell me what it’s like. Get writing!

-Central Park is basically a forest in the middle of a city, and once the weather started behaving itself it was a great place to walk around in. But then it started to rain again, so….

-Tomorrow is an Open Topped Bus Tour of the entire city. Anything to stop that guy with the leaflets following me around.