Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Second Intermission --With Confections!

Today was going to be the day we all have lunch down at Bool Lagoon. However, I've realised I've got a lot of wetlands bird research to do so that everyone knows what's going on.

And a lot of photos to look through and stories to go with the pics.

And maps to scribble on!

So while I'm doing all that (complete with icepack on back and homemade liquid painkiller/muscle relaxant at hand) I'm giving you a second intermission in the story.

And I've even got POPCORN for ya! With pics and a recipe about how to make it! Cus you just gotta have popcorn during an intermission, yessiree!

Before you get the popcorn goodness, I'm going to hand the blog over to my favorite people in all the world : YOU!

I'm going to post up a picture and you get to put a caption on it (just use the comments, eh?). Be witty, be silly, be gross, be obnoxious, be vulgar, whatever.

The second picture really needs a good story for it as it's just begging and pleading for a good story. Here's where all you clever folks out there are invited to make as long a comment as you'd like; provided it's a story about the picture. And if you are going to make it quite a few hundred words, I'd suggest writing it in wordpad or something, saving it, and THEN copy to the comments --just in case blogger has a hernia and then decides to eat your entire story.

Everybody ready? Heeeeeeeeeerrrrreeeeeeeeee we go!

Picture Number 1 Remember, this one gets a caption:
coffin cat

And the second one gets a story:
creamed cat

Great material to work with, eh? I'm sure that with all my regulars and all the new folks reading that there should be some good stories :) Take all the time you want, no worries. But try to have them in by the time we finish with the Naracoorte trip (we're about halfway).

And now you deserve a treat putting up with me: popcorn!

I cooked up a big ole bowl of it specifically to share with someone over in NSW, but I realised it'd be cold by the time it got there. So I'm eating it all myself, sigh.

Is everyone aware that the corn used for popcorn is NOT the same kinda stuff you'd normally eat? It's a very specific type in which the ear is small and the grains are pointed at their base. The endosperm is very dense and the overall kernal is drier than other types.

If you care about the latin, here's the names of two popcorn species that I'm aware of:

Zea mays var. everta

Zea mays var. praecox

Everyone is aware that corn originated in Central America, right? Once it was domesticated (evidence suggests around 6500 years ago) it spread. In fact, there were some North American tribes that cleared land and farmed corn.

Did you know that the ancient Incas used popped popcorn as funeral decorations?

Regarding Thanksgiving... After the 92 natives and the pilgrims had gorged themselves on the wonderful food the Native Americans provided for them, legend has it that the brother of Chief Massasoit disappeared into the woods. Quadequina then returned with a huge bushel of popped popcorn for everyone.

There, don't you feel smarter now? And next time you serve popcorn you can talk all about it and bore the crap out of everyone.

Making good, nutritious popcorn takes all of about 3 minutes. Provided you have the right stuff, of course.

Here's what you need to make a big bowl of tasty popcorn.

1/2 cup olive oil (I know it has a low burn point, just bear with me)
1 tbsp butter
sea salt
200 gr popcorn kernals (about 1/2 cup)

Your cooking vessel should be a large, stainless-steel, THIN-BOTTOMED pot with a lid.

Here's this'll help:
popcorn 01

Make sure you use sea salt!

It's also best (and quickest) cooked on a gas burner as you can control the temp much quicker than electric.

Here's what you do:

Pour the olive oil into the bottom of the pot. You want enough to completely cover the bottom with 3 or 4 mm of oil. Spinkle in some salt, and flick a couple of drops of water in. Turn the heat on medium low.

In about 30 seconds, the water should start to sputter. That's your cue to put the popcorn in the pot. Put the lid on, grab the handles (use pot holders or you burn your fingers) and give the pot a quick shake. In about 30 more seconds, the popcorn will begin to pop. That's your cue to add the butter in quickly (just have a big splat of butter on a knife, lift the lid halfway and splat the butter in quickly and get the lid back on pronto).

As the first half of the popcorn pops you'll only need to shake it every ten seconds or so. But as the pot fills up you'll need to shake it almost continuously. When the popping has almost stopped, turn the heat off but keep shaking.

By doing that above paragraph you'll insure that every kernal will pop and none will burn.

Toss into a large bowl, salt, toss, salt, toss etc. Until you have enough salt for your taste buds.
popcorn 02

If you are adventurous, then some spicy goodies you can add :) Obviously you could sprinkle garlic salt or onion salt on at the end. But how's about adding some cayenne powder of chilli flakes in when you add the kernals to the oil?

The mind boggles at the flavour combinations you can make, so give it a go!

Stay tuned for Bool Lagoon!


Mel Keegan said...

Once upon a time, on the third moon of the planet Katzenensis IV, there lived a handsome prince who lived in a castle that could have used a lick or two of paint, but wasn't likely to get it because 1) the atomosphere outside the castle was corrosive and 2) the prince's family were so poor that they couldn't afford the nanotech paint that would surive point (1).

The prince's name was Garbenunkelwassam, but everyone called him "Gar" for short, because the atomosphere on Katzenensis IV was so thin and ratty that long before you got finished with saying "Garbenunkelwassam," you'd have run out of blood oxygen, turned blue and fallen flat on your face, which would be an extremely back thing to do on Katzenensis IV, because the ground was even more corrosive than the air, and if you paddled around barefoot (or did a faceplant), your feet (or face) would be turned to protoplasmic goo in 8.7 seconds flat.

One day, Prince Gar was eating his poor, simple breakfast of beetroot marmelade on black-bread toast (which is a staple dish on his home world, where bacon and eggs, pancakes and maple syrup, waffles and sausages, and boiled eggs and perfectly percolated coffee, and golden brown buttered toast with lashings of freshly churned butter, were all things which people read about in travel brochures for other worlds, but never expect to taste for themselves, on account of being no poor and so isolated on this idiotic little moon.

And as the prince finished off his breakfast, he heard an odd kind of rasping, scratching sound at the window, which was about one meter to his left hand side, opposite the big framed portraits of his parents, King Snodgrassillius VII and Queen Wilkenhannamotia II, who had married King Snodgrassillius 25 years ago, when she wasn't given much of a choice about it by the royal marriage brokers who brokered marriages like hers, via striking deals with the old fogeys on the various thrones, and not even asking what the young fogeys thought or wanted.

So Prince Gar turned toward the scratching sound that was coming from the window, thinking how weird it was that he was hearing any kind out sound from outside at all, since the air out there was corrosive enough to rot the beak and claws off a robot kawkatoo, which was the only kind of creature likely to be found anywhere on this particular moon of Katzenensis IV, and it didn't count anyway, because it wasn't a life form, just a robotized THING made by the people who used to live on this rock a millennium ago, but were now extinct due to their own toxic smog, which was belched out by the factoris making robotized kawkatoos.

Outside the window, however -- large as life and twice as colorful -- to the complete surprise and utter delight of the handsome but somewhat lame-brained prince, was a life form he recognized from the History Books he had been forced to read when he was a child, by a tutor whose name was Onkefranzenburgen, but who was called "Onk" by almost everyone for the self-same reason as Gar was called Gar by the same people -- namely that nobody in the vicinity wanted to do a faceplant and have 8.7 seconds (exactly) left before they didn't have a face anymore.

Now, Onk had made Gar read the History Books because King Snod and Queen Wilka (ditto, in respect of the atompshere and all) insisted that Gar must have some kind of an education in order to make him a halfway decent marriage proposition, so that when he grew to manhood (as he already had) they would be able to arrange a marriage for him to a rich princess (which they hadn't), and so get enough money to at least paint the castle with the proper nanotech paint (ditto) which would withstand the horrible local climate.

So, thanks to Onk, Gar was able to look out through the corrosive-resistant glass and, when he saw the life-form, he knew exactly what it was -- and knowing this made Gar so inestimably pleased with himself that he got up and did a curious little dance of celebration around the breakfast table, before he turned his attention to the life form outside, and, approaching the glass so closely he breath actually steamed it up a little but, he said to it,


It was a Kat.

The Kats were the original life forms of the planet Katzenensis IV, and since they were native to the region they were pretty much corrosion resistant -- which meant they could ignore the rotten atmosphere and the lousy ground, and could enjoy doing things the human(ish) population couldn't, such as having a nice morning roll on the concrete right outside of Gar's breakfast room window, where the sun shone a little bit and a few robotized plants struggled to survive the harsh chemistry of the air.

"Hi," said the Kat.

The Kats of Katzenensis IV could talk, but they weren't what you'd call magickal cats, because it was perfectly normal for their people to talk, whereas, in order to to clasified as "magickal," they would have to have special powers -- such as x-ray vision (which they didn't have) or the ability to fly (which they couldn't do ... unless they were in airplanes -- which any idiot could do, even Snod and Willka, so that didn't count; at least, Gar was pretty sure it didn't count, and hoped it didn't, because he didn't like to even think about his stupid parents being magickal).

"Who're you?" he asked the Kat.

"You shall address me as Your Royal Highness, Lord and Master of All He Surveys, Prince Bagheera," said the Kat, without batting an eyelid or twitching a whisker, which was not quite the way Prince Gar had ever been spoken to in his entire life before, either by human or Kat -- and he didn't like it.

"Now, listen here," he said to the Kat, "I don't know who you are, you spoiled-rotten furball of a mangey moggy, but nobody talks to the royal family of this-here moon in that tone of voice, and I'll thank you to stand to attention and address me in the proper fashion as Crown Prine Garbenunkelwassam, May Blessings be Upon Me."

Gar waited expectantly.

The Kat, being a Kat, raised a middle claw at him.

And walked off.

Fizzgig said...

holey crap that was a big comment. Must be winning an award or something.

You caught kitty with his tongue out. I love it! There are a billion things you could say...but I think "meh" works great.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Mel: Well... I did ask for stories. Yours is damned good mate. After reading it again, I noticed the entire story takes place in the span of about 20 seconds. That's an impressive 20 seconds!
*snicker* beetroot marmalade

Fizzgig: "meh" pretty much sums up the attitude of the furball.

To all lurkers: Didn't ANYONE notice that the way shithead's tongue is that it looks sorta like lipstick? Lipstick! C'mon, ya'll! Ish, I'm countin' on ya mate.

Mel Keegan said...

Sorry about the length of the post/story ... I guess I got carried away (some people say I *should* be carried away; feet-first). Blame my fingers: they do that kind of thing all by themselves, any time they make contact with a keyboard. Hey, I'm a writer -- force of habit.


LoveANewIdea said...

Photo #1
"Listen, you turd. You and that lady went off for a week to look at some drippy caves, and I took over the house while you were gone. I sleep anywhere I damn well please now, including the flower box. So F off."

(ooh, my fingers did not like typing some of those words, but my brain insisted)

Photo #2:
Pant. Pant.
Pant. Pant. Pant.
"Over the dang board."
Pant. Yawn.
"But had to take a."

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Liz: So if your fingers didn't like typing the potty words but your brain insisted, does that mean you are a patty-brain? LOL I joke, of course. I like both of those! Can I use them on the blog? Actually I guess since they're in the comments it'd be ok?

LoveANewIdea said...

Use away.

PS - My daughter took a look at your blog because it was open on my computer, and she's decided that you're pretty funny!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Liz: Are you shore she didn't say funny looking?