BBQ bread by Alex Coxall
BBQ bread, Yeast flatbread

I finally managed to have a BBQ this year after so many failed attempts and missed opportunities. I thought as there were only a couple of us eating that it might be nice to do some homemade bread. For some reason i have never grilled bread on a BBQ before so I thought I would give it a try.

I made my dough pretty much by eye and feel but I will give an approximate recipe;

  • 500g flour, Strong White
  • 150g Wholemeal flour
  • 7g dried yeast
  • Warm water
  • spices, chillies and garlic
  • Salt, good pinch
  • Honey, a gloop of

I didn’t bother starting the yeast but if you want to check it is still happy yeast, mix it with a little warm water and flour and leave it for about 5 mins, warm, but not too hot. Once it starts frothing then you are good to go.

Mix your flour, yeast and spices in together, add the salt and pour in warm water until a pliable dough is formed. I like to add the honey later on because it impedes the yeast growth a little (this effect is probably negligible but it is a practice I have got used to).

Knead for ten minuites, or until the dough is springy. Cover and leave in the warm as it is a BBQ day I am guessing it is pretty hot out. Leave it in the sun under a damp towel. After about an hour it should be risen pretty well.

Take it out and knock it back. Mix in a little honey, add some more flour to dust if you need it. Now on a floured surface roll it out as thin as you can. If you want you can then cut out your breads and grill them individually. The advantage of this is that you can regulate their cooking as a BBQ will have different levels of heat.

I decided that I just wanted one big bit of bread for sharing so I just rolled it out and stuck it on the grill as one big piece. It will start bubbling on the top of the bread when it is getting done. flip and do the other side. It should puff up a little.

Server with hummus, chilli oil, rosemary oil, etc. Great for eating kebabs. Nom Nom.

As an after thought, if you were going to the park you could put the dough in a big sandwich bag to prove (the first stage when I said to put it in the sun). Leave plenty of room for expansion (as much space as you think you will need X3). When someone wants bread, break a bit of the dough off and roll it into a small ball then press and shape with hands and chuck on grill. Best they are not more than 1cm thick though, to insure they cook through without burning.

 

 

Trying to rid my site of spam

My comments section is so full of spam I have no time to check and respond to real ones at the moment. I have so many dodgy ones that I can’t see the genuine ones.

So this is it, this is war against all you backstreet viagra salesmen, dis-inherited African princes, back linking, black hat SEO bastards and the occasional troll who still thinks Rickrolling is in .

There are a few plug-ins to try out but I am having problems getting my API code for some reason. I will figure it out somehow. In the mean time I am sorry if comments don’t come up.

[Latest news -] This API is not easy to get. It would seem that I have to register with wordpress.com as I am currently hosting on a different domain. This is where it seems to get funny though. I have to register under a different user and password to get a new API. I have a site registered with wordpress from when I set one up years ago. God I am going mad. Going to go and try and use a different spam filter. Spam Karma or something.

Hopefully that does not need an API cos I am going round in circles here.

[Final word for now] I have installed Akismet because it has its own API code that I could get easily. I am guessing that it probably not the best but it should at least get rid of some of the spam I am getting. Let’s see what happens.

[More final word] The spam filter works. It works so well in fact, that I appear to have blacklisted myself from commenting on my own blog. Whoop de woo. I am too fucking tired to sort this now. I expect to wake up to a load of smug spam tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

After the recent the controversy surrounding unpaid marshals being shipped into London for the Queen’s Jubilee, Boris Johnson has hit out at critics of the workfare scheme accusing them of being “hysterical”

“What will happen is the companies themselves on whom we depend to be generous, to be helpful, to actually open their doors to young people, will be scared by this mass hysteria.” said Boris. “They will listen to all this language about slave labour and all this nonsense and will be deterred from taking part in such schemes.”

On the surface the scheme is supposed to provide those out of employment with valuable work experience within the community so that they can improve their chances of getting proper jobs in the future. The unemployed are forced into poorly paid and voluntary positions in order to keep receiving their benefits.

Ostensibly the idea of providing work experience in the community seems like a great idea but in reality this scheme is corrupt, unfair and mostly useless for those forced into it.

The main problem for me (aside from forcing people into free work) is that this scheme is being exploited by the private sector in order to provide a cheap workforce. This in turn has resulted in regular staff losing hours to lower paid workers.  For example, employees at Argos and Tesco reported losing overtime over Christmas to workfare workers.

So with the ability to tap an unending resource of cheap labour what is the point of a company keeping on regular employees? This is going to affect the most vulnerable in the workforce and potentially force them out of the job market, in turn providing more unemployed to be exploited again by workfare.

But what about the experience that the unemployed gain? Well ask the marshals who spent 14 hours a day in the pissing rain guarding porta-loos. I have worked as a marshal and its bloody miserable (I was getting paid). I can also tell you that I gained absolutely no applicable experience from the job.
There has been some good progress made by protesters in putting pressure on companies to pull out the scheme or risk boycott and bad publicity but there are still plenty of companies exploiting the unemployed and cutting the hours of their regular workers.
There is a lot more information on this at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/ there is information on there about upcoming action, more detail about the ins and outs of Workfare. The list below are companies that, at the time of print, are still using the Workfare scheme: (list from boycottworkfare.org)

a4e
Age Concern
Alpha Stream – Kent
Argos
Asda
Asian Star Community Radio LTD
ATS
Barnardos
BHS – British Home Stores [1]
Bookers Wholesale
Boots
British Heart Foundation
Burger King
Burton
Carillion – Kent
Capability Scotland
Cancer Research
Close Protection UK
DB Accident Repair – Kent
DC Cleaning  Sussex
Diamond Glass Medway – Kent
Dorothy Perkins [1]
Envirostream – Kent
Evans [1]
Finsbury Park Business Forum
F&S Interiors – Kent
Go Response – Kent
Helen & Douglas House Hospice – Maidenhead
HMV [3]
Holiday Inn
Holland & Barrett
Gorgie City Farm – have informed us that they do not take part
Greggs the bakers
JA Glover – Kent
Jessup Electrical Wholesale Ltd – Kent
JJ Vickers & Sons Ltd – Kent
Kennedy Scott
Kent Flooring Supplies – Kent
Kent Space – Kent
Maplin – have tweeted that they have withdrawn, awaiting statement
Matalan – have suspended workfare. Keep up the pressure for them to drop it!
Mayhem Paintball – Kent
McDonald’s
Medway Council
Medway Tyres – Kent
Miss Selfridge
Mr Gleam – Sussex
Newham Council
Newhaven Community Development
Olympic Glass – Kent
Omnico Plastics Ltd – Kent
Outfit [1]
Payless – Kent
PDSA
Pizza Hut
Plumbase – Kent
Poundland
Poundstretcher
PPDG
Primark
Process Plant Services Ltd – Kent
RBLI
Regency Guillotine – Kent
Richmond Fellowship
Romney Resource Kent
Royal Mail
RNR Performance Cars – Kent
Saffron Acres Project
Salvation Army
Savers
SERCO
Scout Enterprises
Servest – Kent, London
SHOC Slough Homeless
Shoe Zone
Signs & Imaging Ltd – Kent
Slough Library
Slough Furniture Project
Southern Membranes Ltd – Kent
Southern Metal Services – Kent
southern Roofing & Building Supplies – Kent
Stephens Fresh Food – Kent
Superdrug
Swan Lifeline – Windsor
Tesco
Topman [1]
Topshop [1]
The Range – Sussex
Town and Country Cleaners Kent
Wallis [1]
Westvic Enamellers – Kent
WHSmith
Whittingtons Silk Flower & Plant Centre – Kent
Wilkinsons

This Tuesday I went to see Damien Hurst’s piece “For the Love of God.” That is the skull with the diamonds on and not the dead animals in fish tanks. The work was held in a little blacked out, guarded room in the Tate.

The piece, if you don’t know, is a real skull, cast in platinum and set with diamonds, loads of them. It cost an estimated 15 million quid for some reason. Hirst has been trying to flog it for 50 million for years.

Although produced by the well respected jewelers Bentley and Skinner, the piece looks like it was knocked together by a country and western singer who felt restrained operating in the medium of denim. It is tacky and nothing more.

The brief description outside the viewing room describes how Hirst sees the piece as a “memento mori” which is an artistic tradition that asks the viewer to question their own mortality. The skull representing death and the diamonds?…. well that was not entirely clear.

There was some mention of luxury juxtaposing with image of death or some such twaddle. Really, I got the feeling he just wanted to put some diamonds on a skull and kind of worked out some accompanying bumf to go with it. As a memento mori and as a piece of art it failed on almost every level for me.

It was tacky to the extreme. It certainly would not look out of place on the top of a pimp’s cane or maybe as P-Didie’s gear stick. The object was so far removed from being a skull that it had absolutely no resonance with my own sense of mortality. the diamonds sparkle nicely, but that is because they are diamonds and that is what they do.

The fact that Hirst did not make the piece and pretty much stole the idea from an earlier work by John Lekay is by-the-by. I was unmoved by this piece and that is all that counts for me personally. Could there be an argument that the media storm produced is what the piece was actually about? Maybe, but isn’t that a little cliched. Duchamp, Dali and Warhol, to name but a few, all manipulated media attention, its old fucking hat. We live a world that a cat playing a keyboard can gain worldwide fame overnight. Media manipulation is so passe that there is nothing more to be said here.

It was not until later that day did I see a piece that had a real impact and one that, in a sense, functioned powerfully as a memento mori. The piece was a euthanasia machine from Australia, back when it was legal (1994 – 1997 I believe). The machine in question had taken the lives of four people in its working history.

Picture of Euthanasia machine by Alex Coxall
Euthanasia machine at the science museum in London

It works by administering a lethal injection once a patient has answered the prompts on the screen. Several of these prompts must be confirmed before the machine will administer the poison. It kind of reminded me of the prompts on windows: “Are you sure you want to quit?” “Really? Last chance.”

Despite the image of the windows paperclip, cheerfully talking someone through the last stages of suicide, the object was incredibly powerful. Here was an actual interface where someone was facing and taking charge of their own mortality. This object was the gateway four people took to take their own lives.

Were they left on their own with the machine? Did someone come into the room afterwards to collect it and phone the morticians?

The machine achieved in its own understated way what a human skull and a bucket load of diamonds couldn’t, it caused me to examine my own mortality. Truly great curating.

 

 

Chirizo and black pudding scotch egg
Recipe for Chirizo and black pudding scotch egg by Alex Coxall

The humble scotch egg. Once a great British delicacy (Scotish to be precise) now sadly the tiny cold shrivelled offering at petrol stations across the land. If you don’t know, it is basically a boiled egg made infinitly better by being wrapped in sausage meat, covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried.

This is my take. I have not reinvented the wheel here just put some rims on it. I am sure someone else has done exactly the same but I just wanted to give something back to this website that has given me so much entertainment and caused me to now be the owner of a soldering iron, a dremmel and a whole host of doodads I have dismantled and never quiet figured out how to put back together. Anyway cheers guys for all the years I have enjoyed your blend of genius and lunacy, its about time I kicked in something.

p.s: This took ages to type because I melted the left hand side of my keyboard under a heatlamp at work the other day. Sorry for any repeated letters and random capitalisation, I have done my best to check for it.

Read more: http://www.instructables.com/id/Chirizo-and-blackpudding-scotch-egg/

Cili Salt chilli
The new condiment - Chili Salt

It is time for the antiquated dinner table reign of salt and pepper to be brought to an end. It is time to bring these pretenders together under the all encompassing power of Chili. Here I give you Chalt.

Okay, basically, I make pretty much everything spicy but found that chili sauce can be a bit intrusive with certain dishes (for example it makes the milk go funny with your cornflakes). I also had a bit of time on my hands and had ordered too many scotch bonnet chillies than it was reasonably safe to use in one dish.

This is very straight forward but very effective. Great for using up a glut harvest of chillies.

Anyhows, here you go.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Chalt-The-condiment-for-2012-and-beyond/

Memo to Staff

I realise that many of you were upset by the incident the other day and we appreciate your continued attendance at work. The good news is that Mrs Goddard will be back with us shortly thanks to the swift work and diligence of our technicians. All members of staff that witnessed the aforementioned incident will receive Bronze Hampers as a gesture of good will, for their quick thinking and discretion. (Hampers are a goodwill gesture and are not to be construed in any way as an admission of culpability or responsibility. Celtron ltd point to clause 32 subsection B of employee contracts that states: The company excepts no liability for; injury, maiming, disease, or mental instability caused by employee negligence.)

To avoid future accidents:
NO members of the cleaning staff are allowed in restricted areas, EVER.
Under NO circumstances are members of staff of any level to enter the holding cages.
These rules must be adhered to ALWAYS.

Thank you
Karen Macintosh
Memo to Staff

As I am sure you are aware Mrs Goddard is ready to return to the team. Although she is very much herself, as you can imagine after such a serious accident there are obviously some aesthetic differences. Her speech is not quiet back to normal yet as a certain portion of her brain was removed during the surgery. We imagine that this will return once her body accepts the implants. Also due to the high maintenance levels required to keep her going, she is to stay on site at all times. The Broom cupboard has been converted to accommodate her during the evening. Until we can find another area for the cleaning equipment it is to be kept neatly in the corner of the games room. Make sure that all fire exits are clear, as this would breach Health and Safety regulations. We also request that whoever is on the Monday shift every week comes in 15 mins early to run Brasso over Mrs Goddard’s metallic surfaces. These fifteen minutes will be added until they form an hour and this amount will be added to which ever week the hour accumulates. It has also being brought to my attention that the dispenser is out of oxtail soup, I have talked with the company and they say they have discontinued that particular flavour. Would beef suffice? I know it was a major concern at the last ops meeting. I will continue to fight your corner.

Thank you
Karen Macintosh

 

Memo to Staff

I should not have to remind staff that bullying and name-calling are not acceptable. If this does not stop then I will put my foot down. I will not tolerate this. End of issue.

I also understand that some of you are concerned by the words Mrs Goddard seems to mutter when she is working alongside you, may I assure you that these words are miss fires of the chip as it settles in to normal function. Brian I can assure you Mrs Goddard does not think you are a ‘jizmonkey’ it is likely that this was a random, involuntary, outburst as a traumatic memory floated past of the accident, hence monkey. (Although they were technically apes, I do not think Mrs Goddard had the time to access their genus).

Thank you
Karen Macintosh

 

Memo to Staff

Last night the coffee cups were left in the staff games room. May I remind you that it is your individual duty to wash those cups up after the shift? The games room and in fact the coffee are a privilege not a right. If this occurs again we may have to rethink what perks are awarded to staff.

On a less serious note, I see that you are all getting on a lot better now. Mrs Goddard’s laugh is once again filling the labs with joy. In fact she never stops laughing. Even when she is shut down for the night I hear she giggles to herself. Good on her. I hope this allays any fears that any of you may have had about her violent tendencies.

P.S. Due to Mrs Taylor’s 60’s to 80’s bus trip to Turkmenistan she will obviously not be able to polish Mrs. Goddard tomorrow, so we have skipped the rota one forward and I ask that Brian be responsible. (As you know 15 minutes before your shift not during.)

Thank you
Karen Macintosh
                Celtorn ltd Primate and Cybernetics Dept
                                Little Dinsdale
East Riding
England
HU32 7LJ
                               
Dear Mrs Connor,

It is my sad duty to have to tell you that Brian is no longer with us. At around 8.45 this morning your husband passed away. It is believed he had an accident with one of our more ‘experimental’ machines. We regret that we cannot return him until we have located at least 45 % of the body (I can assure you that this is standard company operating procedure)

Brian was a valued member of the team and will be sorely missed. We all have many happy memories of his 36 year employment. To help with your grief you will notice that we have attached the Gold Hamper. (Hampers are a goodwill gesture and are not to be construed in any way as an admission of culpability or responsibility. Celtron ltd point to clause 32 subsection B of employee contracts that states: The company excepts no liability for; injury, maiming, disease, or mental instability caused by employee negligence.)
Yours Faithfully
Karen Macintosh

As Christmas draws to an end office workers brace for “Black January” as hospitality staff descend on their places of business to let off some yuletide steam.

“Its carnage, absolute carnage,” explains Mike Walsh, manager of Reading’s largest lettings firm, Walsh Lets.  “They act as if they have never been in an office before, we are clearing up vomit, urine and god knows what else for the whole month.”

For many January is a quiet time of recovery and reflection, gym membership triple-folds and sales of tequila hit a yearly rock bottom, but for those in offices, January is a month filled with dread.

“I’d say about 20% of them are okay and I am sure if you got them on their own, one by one, they would be perfectly normal but there is something about January that makes them act like complete arseholes,” says I.T consultant Johnathan Riley. ” Last year a group of ten chefs from a major high street restaurant chain were in here and… well lets just say we had throw the shredder out, and the intern.”

It is estimated that “Black January” costs the private sector nearly £40 million in damages and sexual harassment payouts to staff each year and this year is set to be bigger than ever due to staff cuts in the hospitality industry.

“You would think that the recession would calm down the  parties but the opposite is true;” says Culinary Sociologist, Professor Martin Wrinkler. “What we are seeing is a drop in staffing levels in kitchens leading to a smaller workforce taking on inhuman hours. The few left are taking on hours that would shame a Ukrainian gang master. Add to this the extra wages those few are bringing in and we have a recipe for real damage this year.”

The industry hit back against these accusations saying that trouble makers represented only a small percentage of January partiers; “It’s a small minority and anyway, what are these office boys complaining about, don’t these guys fuck up our establishments all the way through December and show no respect for the hard working people in our line of work?” says a brewery director, wishing to remain anonymous.

Whatever this year brings we can guarantee similar scenes to last year, up and down the country, as hospitality staff blink into the daylight and start their end of December celebrations.

“I think it is a load of fuss about nothing,” said Joe, a commie chef for the Hilton group,  at last year’s Swindon Halifax bash,”We work hard all year, you know, we just like to let off some steam and do stuff we normally wouldn’t get the chance to. For instance, I would not normally drink photocopier toner but here we are.”