Thursday, 24 September 2015

23 Sep 15 - Exotic Burgers Part 6 of 15 - Bison Burgers

Home, home on the range is where our latest burgers could be found "in the olden days". Now they are home, home on our plates, and soon after in our bellies. It's Bison Burgers!

Bison, staple food of north American indians for centuries. I wonder if they made them into burgers? Would they be a patchy on the venison ones? Well, not to crow about it but we thought about inviting some people to join us. First, ex England cricketer Neil Fairbrother. Sadly Poor Neil was away negotiating IPL contracts. We thought about reclusive neighbour Anne from the top floor, but shy Anne turned us down. What about Kim Kardashian Sam asked? Nope, she's just a rapper ho says Dad. How about the guy who sang that world cup opera song, the one that ended "Vincero, vincero?" Key to selling Italia 90 he was. NO Pavarotti Dad, there'll be none left for anyone else.

Had enough Red Indian references? Did you spot 'em all? If you don't like it, sue us.

There's another one.

You can buy bison burgers here: BISON BURGERS

The website describes them thus: Having a barbecue? Looking for something different? Try a pack of our bison burgers, great tasting burgers which are low in fat and high in protein, these are real man burgers!! Great tasting and gluten free..
Our Bison Burgers sometimes known as buffalo are the original North American wild west meat and offer a lovely tender burger with a delightful natural flavour. They have been a staple meat of North American Indians for centuries and although similar in taste to beef, it has a lot more taste in our humble opinion, why not have a wild west bbq, invite some friends and enjoy a few packs of our delicious bison burgers?.

Sam voted for - Beef.

Dad voted for - Too close to call.

Current score is Exotic Burgers 7.5 Beef Burgers 4.5.

Next up - Springbok Burgers.

Previous results:

Camel 2 Beef 0

Zebra 1.5 Beef 0.5

Crocodile 0 Beef 2

Venison 2 Beef 0

Bison 0.5 Beef 1.5

Sunday, 20 September 2015

26 Aug 15 - Edinburgh Festival & Military Tattoo

Our Edinburgh day was as enjoyable as ever. After last year's referendum on independence we decided to go DEEP undercover and blend in like locals. Och aye. Etc.

Driving into town the rain was torrential, and we expected to have to deploy ponchos all day. But fabulously it stopped the moment we turned the engine off. Not religious, but it was well worth us sacrificing that goat at dawn as an offering to the weather gods.

And we have the best Edinburgh travel tip you will ever hear. Don't drive into the city and pay a small fortune for parking. Make your way to Belgrave Road, off Corstophine Road, which is miraculously both free of any parking restrictions and almost deserted and park there instead. Then simply hop onto one of the incredibly frequent buses into the centre, which costs £1,10 for an adult and £0.70 for children. Numbers 12, 26 or 31 are what you're looking for.

Our plan was to watch some of the street performers during the day and then the Military Tattoo in the evening. With frequent food and ice cream stops, obvs. We discovered how the performers are chosen for each spot. They have to register at the start of the festival then turn up every morning for the drawing of random lots, allocating them locations and times. These are transcribed onto the boards you see here, which are displayed at each pitch.

Sam was completely thrilled to spot a familiar name at 6pm - The Mighty Gareth! We first encountered this nutter in 2011 and Sam was given a cool signed photo which he still cherishes. But that was later, for the time being we settled down to watch....

....Flexy Lexy! A contortionist with a terrible line in patter but an awesome bum!

We stayed put in the hope that Rugg Tomcat would be better - and he was! His act was humourous and drew a large crowd. This was probably due to one thing and one thing only..... Edinburgh Fringe debut! Man, I absolutely wowed that crowd and had them rocking in the aisles. As you can see from this photo, I stole the show and the performer hid his face in shame.

My task was to wield an Incredibly Enormous Flaming Torch Of Death! Man, that flame must have been knocking on 5 inches high, lethal in the wrong hands. And I look way more iconic than the Statue Of Liberty eh? It was a lot of fun taking part, and of course Rugg Tomcat seriously took the mickey out of his helpers. I think I may volunteer for a couple more next year....

Figo was up next and I was disappointed that it wasn't Luis Figo, the legendary Portugal twinkle-toed footballer. No it was some Scot with a rubber glove on his head. Nobody batted an eyelid, you see people dressed bizarrely around every corner during the Festival. 

More impressive than the rubber glove was laying on a bed of nails and having two people stand on him. Kudos!

Meet "Akira", all the way from Japan. Allegedly. He was touted as a fusion of art, dance and DJ-ing. Didn't strike Sam and Dad quite like that, but he was entertaining in his own unique way. He "danced" while using a craft knife to carve bits out of a sheet of paper which was pinned over another piece of paper. He then sprayed the whole lot with a variety of bright coloured spray cans......

....and produced this beauty! A piper in the foreground and an Edinburgh street to the rear. He was talented, bonkers, but also mesmerising and entertaining. We gave him £1.50.

After yet more food we made our way up Cockburn Street - and we make a point of using this street just because of the name - to the Royal Mile. This is Fringe Central! More freaks and weirdoes per square yard than anywhere else in the world. So many performers from so many shows, all trying to grab your attention and rouse your interest. And give you one of their flyers....

Flyers. We were handed a couple of dozen within five minutes. And then Sam hit upon his amazing new game. He was going to re-hand out the flyers, especially to the very people who gave him theirs in the first place.

Well what a great game this turned out to be. It's so easy to do because people on the Royal Mile are programmed to accept anything they are given. We spent over an hour walking up one side of the road collecting flyers, then back down the opposite side handing them out again. I know, very childish. But great fun.

We will deffo be returning to this game next year, so watch out if you see two badly dressed jakeys flyering and laughing at the same time....

Sam particularly enjoyed giving out flyers for shows that are WAAAAY beyond his age range. Burlesque, nudity, sexual scenes. He wet himself at the reaction of people when they glanced at the flyer, looked back at him, totally confused. Brilliant!

Of course it didn't work every time. Better luck next time dude....incidentally, the bloke on the right of this pic was a magician giving out flyers for his show, and he REALLY resented Sam queering his pitch! Which, of course, made things even funnier.

Another top Edinburgh tip for you now. If you have tickets for the Military Tattoo don't join the queues on Johnstone Terrace at half past seven. Do something else instead and turn up at the Castle Esplanade about twenty minutes before the performance begins - straight in!

The Tattoo was brilliantly performed as always. The setting just could not be better, and the skirl and rattle of the massed pipes and drums makes even my sassenach emotions go into overdrive.

This year was significantly less "military" though, which is a real shame. We will give it another chance of course. And yet again, the show was over all too quickly. Goodbye Edinburgh, until next summer!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

17 September 2015 - Exotic Burgers Part 5 of 15 - Alpaca Burgers

The fifth of our exotic burgers were alpaca, and as usual we pressed some beef burgers of our own to judge against. Note that the home made burgers on the right are noticeably larger in diameter....

The alpaca burgers were generally lighter in colour before cooking, and looked full of good sized pieces of meat. Both fried rapidly and evenly but the beefburgers showed noticeable shrinkage. The flavour of the alpaca meat was slightly richer than the beef, albeit "roughly" similar. They were also slightly juicier in the mouth, and we thoroughly enjoyed devouring them both. Judging was going to be difficult again.

You can buy alpaca burgers here: ALPACA BURGERS 

The website describes them thus: These quarterpounders are something completely different, why not have an Aztec night? They work perfectly with a Tequila. Lower in fat than lamb and a great source of protein, Alpaca meat is good for those requiring a high protein diet or anyone wishing to lose weight yet still enjoy a good meaty feast.

Sam voted for - too close to call, half a point each.
Dad voted for Alpaca.

Current score is Exotic Burgers 7 Beef Burgers 3.

Next up - Bison Burgers.

Previous results:

Camel 2 Beef 0

Zebra 1.5 Beef 0.5

Crocodile 0 Beef 2

Venison 2 Beef 0

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

12 July 2015 - Red Bull Soapbox Race, Alexandra Palace

It was on an overcast Sunday just before the summer holidays began that Sam & Dad drove to Cockfosters, took a train to Wood Green, then trudged up the hill to Alexandra Palace. It was time for the Red Bull Soapbox Race 2015....

We quickly found ourselves a spot on a hill overlooking one of the jumps. If you've ever seen the Soapbox Race you'll know that these home-made racers often have difficulty surviving when they have to contend with obstacles.

Our "great spot" soon proved to be anything but, as everybody sitting in fornt of us inexplicably stood up when the racing began. If only they'd remained on their bums everyone would have had a great view. We decided to make our way around the top of the track and took up a spot directly opposite our first viewpoint. We were leaning on the barrier with an unimpeded view, result! And we recommend this approach should you ever decide to visit.

What was the race like? In a word, extremely fun indeed! The soapboxes, all 60+ of them, were a mixture of ramshackle to highly engineered, and were a cool and hilarious spectacle. This dinosaur skeleton was one of the best....

Sadly it didn't make it over our jump completely intact.....there were marshalls at regular intervals along the course to retrieve the debris.

Keystone Cops in attendance? Not really, these fancy dress rozzers patrolled up and down the course to make sure spectators didn't encroach over barriers etc, and put themselves in the line of fire of the flying, possibly out of control, cotraptions.

Teams have to perform a performance piece at the top of the course before they start their run, and some of the crews ran down the course behind their soapbox. Here comes Willy Wonka....

....and here comes one of his pit crew, an oompa-loompa!

Sun's out.....selfie moment!

Ah. This looks like Lego Batman and Lego Robin....but.....

....oh, and Lego Joker.....where is their soapbox?

Ah. All became clear as marshalls dragged the bashed-up Batmobile to the finish.

There will always be a piece of the Batmobile at Ally Pally.

Occasionally we'd hear a huge Oooooh from further up the track, followd by a gale of laughter. This meant there had been a crash. Fortunately we were also treated to a few spills close to our vantage point. Those front wheels are way too close together....

Competitiors were usually determined to complete the course after months of preparation, and carried, pushed, dragged their creations down the course, still completing the jumps, and saluting the appreciative crowd.

Some of the soapboxes got it just right, and were very fast as well as looking great.

Some made the mind boggle as to how on earth they managed to finish, like this top-heavy model of The Shard.

Always like a photo of a photog don't we....

This is the start ramp, with the final team of the day doing their performance piece before launch.

Saddest sight of the day was as we were making our way back to the train....the soapbox graveyard where the finished machines were unceremoniously dumped.

All in all we'd recommend giving this fun event a visit - but plan your vantage point before you get there!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

12 September 2015 - Philly Cheese-steaks

These things are Philly Cheese-steaks. Well, our take on that delicacy anyway. We'd never heard of this until they were mentioned in an episode of current fave show The Goldbergs. First resort was Google, and as soon as we saw them we knew - we just had to have them....

This monstrous snack was invented by Pat Olivieri in 1930 (possibly) and his descendants still run the most famous cheese steak outlet, Pat's King Of Steaks.  You need steak (ideally ribeye), provolone cheese (although other cheesy additions are just fine, even cheese inna can), and sub rolls. And away you go.

We obtained our steak and cheese from the fabulous butcher, Lisa Scothern at Creake Abbey Food Hall, thus ensuring the highest quality. They went as far as to specially order the provolone for us, outstanding service! The "proper" method is to start frying the steak and then break it into smaller pieces, but we sliced ours before cooking.

Provolone was sliced thinly to help it melt easily and quickly. Then it was all chucked into a big ole frying pan. Our results didn't look exactly the same as some versions you can find online, but they were bloomin' delicious nonetheless. But next time we're only going to make half the quantity....