Tuesday, 23 February 2010

You heard it here first!

My brother-in-law has handled Ken Dodd's medical records. Top that!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Back in the U of K

Leaving Runcorn station yesterday the first song I heard on the radio was this:

What on earth has been going on the in the last four months? Would anyone care to explain? I'm baffled.

Friday, 19 February 2010

The best thing I ate in Mexico?

Probably this: a banana cut in half, stuffed with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, squirty cream and topped with a glace cherry.

Don't know what it's called but in honour of the fact that we are leaving mexico tomorrow I'll call it a MaƱana Flit.

Thank you. You've been a wonderful audience.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Local firewater #4: The Chocolate Invincible

Named after: Its creator Crazy Horse Invincible (just visible in the background of this photo).
Made with: 1 1/2 measures brandy, 1/2 measure of Kaluha, Nesquik chocolate milk powder and a splash of milk. Blend with ice.
Tastes like: Nesquik and brandy. Perhaps unsuprisingly.
Pair with: Sweet pancakes, wild speculation, mild sunstroke, a happy pancake day.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

I didn't eat this

But I wish I had. It is a crisp spiral. Pretty good huh?

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Tamale sandwiches!

The only thing better than a tamale is a tamale sandwich. You can buy them at breakfast time from one of the many 2pac impersonators who line the Zocalo.
They'll tear the centre out of a slightly crispy, crunchy bun and pop the tamale of your choice in the resulting hollow: this one is filled with tomatillo mole and it was delightful.

"De facto lard sandwich".

Thursday, 11 February 2010


The Popol Vuh explains how the first Mayans were moulded by god from maize dough. Today tamales are eaten both as an everyday staple and at religious festivals where they represent the human body: the corn husk used to wrap it represents the skin, the corn meal dough the flesh and the filling in the centre the organs.

Co-incidentally the creation myth of the Wh-uul people of St Helens tells of how their God (Allan, praise be to his name) moulded them in the image of the pasty rather than the pie. As such in their religious ceremonies a translucent Greggs bag represents damp sportswear, flaky pastry the flesh and a filling of mince and gravy the soul.

Anyway, another way in which the tamale closely resembles a lot of bodies in both Mexico and St Helens (including my own) is that it's about 25% LBV (lard by volume). To make 'em, start of with a bag of lard.

Pop it in a food processor.

Whip it real good:

Now add the other ingredients: a little baking powder, some chicken stock and your corn dough. Personally I always like to make the dough myself by boiling whole corn cobs for several hours with a little limestone before running the whole through an industrial grinder. I suppose you could use store bought dough, if you thought that was appropriate.

You should now have a big pot of goopy corn paste. Spread a little on a pre-warmed banana leaf or inside a corn husk. Not too much now!

Pop in a little filling. I've used chicken and mole here but let your imagiantion run riot. Iguana? Fig and clam? Steak and kidney? Asprin and chocolate? They're your tamales: you make the decision. I can't do everything for you. Seriously.

Wrap them up neatly. NEATLY. And steam.

Unwrap them:

And enjoy:


Tuesday, 9 February 2010


There was an earthquake last night! They said it was a 5.7 but even as it happened I pointed out that it felt more like a 5.5. Lucky I was wearing my magnetic galoshes at the time.

People here are putting a brave face on it

In actuality the only discernable effect was that it gave a barfull of bibulous Canadians something to talk about for half an hour before reverting to their original conversation: a description of a dog one of them had once seen and subsequent speculation as to its breed. It was not this dog: he lives in our hotel and is frequently hot.

There aren't any typhoons in Mexico so I'll just have to use this as a rather thin excuse to post a picture that I think is funny.

Typhoon, wrestler.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Local firewater #3: Pechuga

Pronounced: Pechuga

Means: Breast

i) take 75 liters of mezcal in a still with 25 lbs wild mountain apples and plums, red plantain bananas, pineapples, a handful of almonds and a few pounds of uncooked white rice. NB: If wild mountain apples and plums are not in season abandon the recipe and make a nice tagine instead.

ii) Next, skin a chicken breast leaving the bone structure intact. Wash in in running water for about three hours to remove any grease and suspend in the still during distillation.

iii) After 24 hours remove the chicken and place in a small shrine or tabernacle. The pechuga is now ready to drink.

Tastes like: fuity mezcal

Does not take like: chicken, breast, chicken breast.

Final verdict: 1/2 a McCartney

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Total dearth

No sight of pugs for weeks now. I've been scrutinising the above to make sure I haven't been missing any. In addition to the information above, it pays to remember that pugs are cobby* dogs.

Extra special thanks to my mother in law for sending me this guy. His name is Bob, he is wearing a sheepskin jacket and appears to have very straight legs.
Thank you Bob.

* This wikipedia article was my favorite page on the whole internet but they went and changed it. I used to look at it a lot in work.

Friday, 5 February 2010

What I've been up to

Long version:

Short version:

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Happy Candlemas!

I just love how Candlemassy it gets when the Infant Jesus dolls go up for sale.

Who can resist some accessories? A halo maybe?

Or a stethescope?

Either way its a lovely trip out for the little fella.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Local firewater #2: Mezcal

Pronounced: Mess-cal
Made from: Charred agave cactus
Tastes like: Alcohol, smoke, tequila made in a shed
Best served: in a glass, with some tart citrus fruit to numb your tastebuds and a little pile of salt mixed with chilli powder and ground up dried worms.

How can I make some? 1)Take cactus:

2) Burn cactus:

3) Squish cactus (ask a horse to help you if you have trouble with the wheel):

4) Ferment cactus:

5) Distill cactus, twice:

6) Bottle (rude picture/NSFW):
7) Add worm:

8) Remove worm:
NB: the worm is only for tourists.