Eagleton, You Betcha

You know, maybe a new VP gold-standard is being set here…

This would be a test.

Posting from the shiny.

We're All Socialists Now

Still, if we need a new energy source in a hurry, we can always hook a generator up to Milton Friedman’s spinning grave…

And For The Record

I thought the glitter spray was wonderful.

(it’ll be ten years next week, fact-fans. And now reduced to swapping second-hand clothes. Okay, fancy second-hand clothes and in front of TV cameras, but still!)

Debate 3: I'm Getting Too Old For This

[Cindy] McCain, who stopped to visit a half-dozen children at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt today, said the presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has "waged the dirtiest campaign in American history,”

Umm. You know, I think there's only one campaign that has been calling out 'traitor', that has its supporters crying out 'kill him!' and indulging in character assassinations because even they admit that they don't want to talk about the economy. But believe what you want to, Mrs. McCain.

Paint your face....paint the walls.

So, debate number three. Obama is currently riding high in national and state polls; if the election was held tomorrow, the Southern Strategy would almost be defeated; the coasts would turn blue, and the Republicans would be facing total defeat, the Democrats in the Senate dangerously edging closer to the filibuster-proof 60 level, the House firmly blue, and the White House back in Obama's hands, poised to take over as Great Depression II: Electric Boogaloo strikes.

Huh. Maybe the GOP wants to lose this thing after all. But nobody's filled John McCain in on that just yet, so the man is up tonight for another try and getting what he feels is owed to him. He tried being the neo-con's neo-con back in 2000, but was sent back to Arizona by dirty tricks in South Carolina. Although he was furious at the time, McCain seems to have got over the 'black baby' affair, seeing as how he's hired the man behind it to work on his campaign. A brief spell followed where he tried to drive a knife into Bush in preparation for a 2004 challenge, but 9/11 changed everything, remember. McCain established a few 'maverick' positions on tax, torture and immigration which gained him a lot of favourable press, so favourable, in fact, that the press didn't seem to notice too much when he abandoned all of them along his road to the GOP nomination.

And so here he is, looking at an electoral map where even North Carolina is looking shaky. He's played almost every rule out of the classic Rove instruction manual, and nothing seems to be working. While the economy crashes all around the country, all he has left is murky charges of 'association with terrorists' and 'against the troops'.

I said I'd be Tony Cascarino, circa 1995

But this is his element! The town hall debate, the series of debates he pleaded for back after Obama finally clinched the Democratic nomination. McCain needs this to go over well tonight; the previous debate didn't really have winner, but voters appear to have judged that Obama was indeed ready to be President based on his performance; a deadly conclusion considering that McCain had been basing a considerable amount of his campaign around the idea that he wasn't experienced enough for the position. Choosing Sarah Palin has energised his base, yet at the same time, she doesn't appear to be helping him in the swing states where he desperately needs to hold on to the Bush 2000/2004 map. They're in trouble.

I expect McCain will do well tonight. He has to.

For Those Of You Playing The 'Maverick' Drinking Game

I salute you. But get yourself to a hospital now.

Vice-President Debate

It’s a bit like going to a Cat Power concert, isn’t it? There’s a chance for a decent performance, but also the chance of the greatest on-stage trainwreck you’ll see in years. Will it be Biden, who has FDR on TV during the Great Crash, or Palin, who seemingly can’t name a newspaper?

(this is all distracting me from having to admit that Boris managed to get something right today)

Not That I Can Read The Whole Story

But this sounds pretty scary. Especially for some of my friends who work at universities across America…

A Banana Republic With Nukes.

So, I guess the idea is now to wait a month and write a bill that’ll pass in a Democratic Congress?

And it was a good thing that McCain suspended his campaign to get this through, wasn't it?

Recipe: A Summer Wasting

This weekend’s FoodScience! entry has very little food science in it, I’m afraid. But before you grab the pitchforks, it’s a deconstruction of a popular dish! Surely that can save me, right? Right?

So, I’ve been thinking for a while about how to put a twist on nachos. My first thought was to invert it somehow; a set of cheese and tomato crisps covered with a nacho purée, for example. But it seemed a bit too much effort for something that would end up tasting vastly inferior to real nachos. Eventually, I hit on the idea of changing the flavour aspect of nachos: switching them from savoury to sweet. A fruit salsa on top of tortilla chips, perhaps. But there was something lacking. The chips would still be too savoury for my tastes.

(I think it’s fair to say I have a sweet tooth. I have appalled friends by how much sugar I can eat in a single setting)

Yesterday, I had a breakthrough; I got a copy of Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts in the post. After I managed to prise it from my sister’s clutches (a somewhat difficult task, even though she only has the use of one hand. The love of chocolate is strong in her), I had a brief flick-through. It’s got some spectacular recipes, but what caught my eye was “Suddenly Last Summer”, which is constructed from peaches sautéed in wine and honey, served on a bed of olive oil filo crisps.

Aha!

I scampered off to Tesco in order to get some fruit. It was time for sweet nachos.

The olive oil filo crisps are actually a minimal version of baklava. Which means I did two recipes on my to-do list at the same time. Hurrah! Anyway, the ingredients:

Tortilla Crisps

  • 8 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1 pack of pistachio nuts (say around a cup or so)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons demerara sugar

Oven to 180°C! Shell the pistachio nuts and grind them down. They deserve it. Stir the sugar, cinnamon, and salt intto the ground nuts, and give the mixture another pulse or two in the food processor. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and brush with olive oil. Put a sheet of filo pastry on top of the paper, brush that with more olive oil, and then sprinkle some of the nut mixture over the top (you’ll need sixteen sprinkles, so divide accordingly!). Put another sheet of pastry on top and repeat the process. Then again. And one more time. So that’s four sheets of filo pastry, and the top should have a sprinkling of the nut/sugar/cinnamon/salt mixture.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes. While that’s cooking, repeat the process with another four layers of filo (if you want, you can make even more, but I think two sets is enough. Trust me). When they’re done, take the sheet out and leave to cool for a bit.

Next! The fruit. Now, I may have missed a trick here; perhaps the syrup should have been red. I’ll rectify that next time. Again, I borrowed from Demolition Desserts (I really wanted to make something from it, and as I’m not going to be around much this weekend, it would be my only chance for a week), making a black pepper-tarragon syrup.

Salsa

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 cup liquid glucose
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • Lots of fruit

Bring the water, sugar, and corn syrup to the boil. Simmer for a minute, then take off the boil and add the peppercorns and tarragon. Leave for ten minutes before straining the syrup out into a jug. Meanwhile, take your fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries), and sautée them for a minute or two in a pan with butter, sugar and a little Cointreau. Oh yes.

So, we have our salsa. And we have our tortilla crisps. Yes, crisps. But, the special thing about nachos, especially nachos bought at, say, sporting events, is the horrific orange cheese substance that is slathered over the top. Originally, I thought about a sweet mascarpone sauce, but Stacie pointed out that coloured white chocolate would also work. As I still had half a vial of orange food colouring and some white chocolate, it seemed the best way to go.

Cheese Topping

  • 150g white chocolate (use 300g if you want lots!)
  • E102 food powder (makes children hyperactive, remember)

Melt the chocolate in either a double boiler or the microwave, and mix in the orange powder until it gets rather orange.

Then, it’s quite simple! Break up the filo sheets into shards, place them on a plate, put fruit on top, pour on some of the syrup, cover it all with the orange chocolate, and serve!

IMG_0129.JPG

Remember to book your diabetes test in the morning…