Welcome all wankers

All bloggers occasionally fall into the trap of looking at the search terms that have lead people to the little corner of the internet that they call home. Recently I have fallen into the same trap.

It turns out that my blog is pretty popular with wankers (see red underlined terms)… probably my own fault because of this post. So I’d just like to say welcome to all masturbation fans. Please bring your own tissues. I apologise for the lack of gifs and videos but we keep it classy here.

There is some other very weird stuff going on here too (see blue underlined items). To all of you I apologise because there’s a pretty good chance you didn’t find what you were looking for here because I don’t recall ever doing any posts on Patrick Stump’s penis, (non-existent) connections between Nazi’s, Gogol Bordello and mustaches or Tom Cruise t-shirts. Good luck on your future endeavours.

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Things I have been cooking lately #104: Spicy lentil bake

This lentil bake is sort of reminiscent of a moussaka but with more Middle Eastern flavours. The base recipe that I built this on showed the different layers as all being beautifully separate but when I cut into this it all kind of glooped together. That didn’t make it any less tasty though and I quite liked the fact that it all merged into a delicious goo. Of course that made it a nightmare to photograph so please don’t let the rather bland photo put you off, if you’re looking for a filling, healthy vegetarian dish, this is a knock out.

Spicy lentil bake

Very loosely inspired by this recipe on One Green Planet

2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 spring onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
500g pre-cooked green lentils
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of harissa pasta
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
A handful of chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1/2 cup water
Salt
Pepper

For the cheese sauce
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 handfuls of cheese

For the layers
1 aubergines
2 courgettes

2 extra cups of cheese

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the spring onions until lightly golden. Add the garlic and fry until also golden. Add the red pepper and harissa and cook until the red pepper has softened. Add the lentils and mix well. Then add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 20 minutes.

While that’s on the go, slice the aubergines and courgettes lengthwise and cook them in your griddle pan until you have the nice grill lines on them. Set aside.

Then make the cheese sauce. Heat the olive oil until runny. Then remove from the heat and stir in the flour and a pinch of salt to form a paste. Add the milk a couple of tablespoons at a time and mix well after each addition ensuring that there are no lumps. Return to the heat, stirring continuously until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add the cheese and stir over the heat until you have a smooth sauce.

In a large baking dish spread half the lentils. Then a layer of cheese sauce. Then a layer of courgette and aubergine. Followed by a layer of lentils, a layer of courgette and aubergine and a final layer of cheese sauce. Then top with the additional cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Serves 6 – 8

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My top 10 Oscar predictions – how did I do?

The Oscars are over for another year and  I know the question on all of your lips is… how did I do on predictions for the 10 categories I actually cared about? (Spoiler: it’s not good).

oscars-2014-nominees

Writing – best adapted screenplay

What did I want to win?
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle

What did I think would win?
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle

What actually won?
“The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore

Thoughts?
I haven’t actually seen The Imitation Game so I can’t comment on how good it was but I am sad for Whiplash, which was great.

Writing – original screenplay

What did I want to win?
“Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

What did I think would win?
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

What actually won?
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Thoughts?
Birdman
 was really good but I desperately wanted Nightcrawler to win so I’m disappointed.

Supporting actor

What did I want to win?
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”

What did I think will win?
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”

What actually won?
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”

Thoughts?
Anything else would have been a travesty!

Supporting actress

What did I want to win?
Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”

What did I think would win?
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

What actually won?
Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”

Thoughts?
I am just so glad Meryl Streep didn’t win and Patricia Arquette was great in Boyhood. 

Actor

What did I want to win?
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

What did I think would win?
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

What actually won?
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

Thoughts?
No surprise here and I thought Eddie Redmayne was amazing in The Theory of Everything so I can’t complain.

Actress

What did I want to win?
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”

What did I think would win?
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”

What actually won?
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”

Thoughts?
I don’t think this was a surprise to anyone. Still Alice hasn’t been released in the UK yet so I can’t comment on Moore’s performance.

Cinematography

What did I want to win?
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman

What did I think would win?
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman

What actually won?
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki

Thoughts?
As much as I enjoyed Birdman it wasn’t as beautiful as Grant Budapest Hotel.

Film Editing

What did I want to win?
“Whiplash” Tom Cross

What did I think would win?
“Whiplash” Tom Cross

What actually won?
“Whiplash” Tom Cross

Thoughts?
I am really pleased with this result, the editing on Whiplash is a big part of what made it so exciting.

Director

What did I want to win?
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater

What did I think would win?
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater

What actually won?
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Thoughts?
I know Boyhood has been passed off as gimmicky but I think what Linklater pulled off was astounding and I am disappointed that he didn’t win the Oscar.

Picture

What did I want to win?
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater

What did I think would win?
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater

What actually won?
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers

Thoughts?
Look, I am just happy American Sniper didn’t win.

Score: 5/10 actual predictions, 3/10 on what I hoped would win.

So what do you think? Did the Academy got it right?

Film Friday #219

American Sniper (2014)

At thirty Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) decides to become a Navy SEAL because Murrica and stuff. At around about this time he also meets a woman called Taya (Sienna Miller). She’s not so keen on Navy SEALs nor can she hold her whisky but he talks her into marrying him anyway. During their wedding Chris finds out he has to go to Iraq. Hoorah! It turns out he is super good at shooting people from a distance. So  he does this for about two hours, while Taya gives birth to a series of fake babies and laments the fact that killing loads of people is turning Chris into a bit of a cunt. What makes it even better is that Chris ends up in a kind of reckless game of one upmanship with a silent, character-free Syrian sniper who was in the Olympics and isn’t a big fan of Murrica. Boo! Anyway… I have absolutely zero idea how this got nominated for an Oscar. While Miller and Cooper are both pretty good and the film avoids sinking into pro-American propaganda since every American in it comes off looking like a dick,  it’s  also hopelessly boring. It can’t decide if it wants to be an action movie or a dramatic account of the psychological effects of war on soldiers and so it ends up being a shite example of both. I did learn though that in America it is appropriate not to wear any panties under your sundress in front of your children. Terrible. 1/5

Killing in the name of whaaaat?

Killing in the name of whaaaat?

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) cleans toilets for living. She also happens to be the genetic reincarnation of the matriarch of the powerful Abrasax (not a magic saxophone unfortunately) family and therefore the rightful owner of the Earth. She finds this out when she is attacked by aliens while trying to sell her eggs under duress from her cousin… as you do. Fortunately anti-gravity boot wearing, half man-half dog Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) is there to rescue her. Yay! It turns out that her former self’s three kids, Titarse (Douglas Booth), Khaliber (Tuppence “isn’t that a euphemism for a vijayjay?” Middleton) and Baldric (Eddie Redmayne) all want to get hold of her in order to further their own interests in the very profitable business of intergalactic DNA restructuring… or something. I realise those are not the actual character names but I couldn’t remember them and I like my versions better. So for two hours everyone chases Jupiter around, she keeps falling off shit and over shit and under shit and Caine keeps coming to her rescue – sometimes aided by and sometimes hindered by his former legion commander, Sparky (Sean Bean), who also has his own agenda. So many agendas!!! Oh and the DNA rebuilding juice is made from harvesting humans (!!) although this is barely touched on. (Soylent green is people!) Anyway Jupiter Ascending looks absolutely amazing but no amount of CGI, prosthetics or impressive world-building can make up for a non-existent storyline, lack of character development and an absolute stinker of a script. Tatum and Kunis do what they can with what they have been given but Redmayne decides to play his character like an aging soap opera actress on crack. I’m not sure what he was thinking but it’s almost so bad it’s good. Almost. It feels like the Wachowskis have taken the very interesting idea of the Universe being a giant corporate machine and pissed it up the wall by focusing on all the wrong things. I can’t believe I put this on my top ten most anticipated movies for 2015. Avoid. 1/5

I can smell my own shit

Bring me the blood of a virgin… and a two piece… and a biscuit!

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Virginal English literature student, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) meets billionaire businessman, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) while filling in for her roommate, Kate (Eloise Mumford) during an interview. Although Anastasia is intimidated by Christian there immediately a spark between them and it’s not long before he has pushed his way into her life in a rather creepy manner. He then introduces her to his somewhat unusual sexual proclivities insisting the only way they can have a relationship is if Anastasia signs a contract where she will act as his submissive, agreeing to his every whim. There are a couple of positives to this film. It has a great soundtrack and absent of her ludicrous inner-monologue and in the hands of the rather charming Johnson, Anastasia is considerably less annoying than her book incarnation. But you simply cannot polish a turd. The dialogue sticks closely to the wince-inducingly awful source material and the entire premise is off-putting. Christian’s behaviour towards Anastasia is controlling, manipulative and abusive and there is nothing romantic about the way he uses his wealth to distract her from the fact that he is pushing her in a direction she does not want to go in. This film is not about two consenting adults discovering that they have similar sexual tastes and indulging in them but rather about a man withholding his affection from a woman he has seduced unless she submits to being controlled – and I can’t enjoy watching that kind of relationship being presented as the height of romance. I was particularly disappointed by the fact that director, Sam Taylor-Johnson chose not to show Anastasia’s injuries after Christian’s most aggressive beating, lessening the impact of his abuse. Awful. 1/5

For the love of god, Christian. I am trying to sleep. Enough with the Chopsticks!

For the love of god, Christian. I am trying to sleep. Enough with the Chopsticks!

Superbad (2007)

On their last day of high school best friends, Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) agree to buy the booze for Seth’s crush, Jules’ (Emma Stone) graduation party. If they pull it off they’ll earn the cool points that will enable Seth to get with Jules and Evan to woo, Becca (Martha MacIsaac). They’re underage so they’ll need to rope in their even dorkier frenemy, Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who has a new fake ID. The only problem is Fogell’s fake ID claims that he’s a twenty-five year old Hawaiian named McLovin. When Fogell’s attempts to procure the aforementioned alcohol are interrupted by a hold-up, Seth and Evan mistake his interaction with the police for an arrest and do a runner, plunging them into a crazy adventure that will test their friendship to its limits. At the same time, cops Slater (Bill Hader) and Michaels (Seth Rogen) decide to take Fogell under their wing setting him up for a night he will never forget. Superbad is rude, crude, crazy and ultimately hilarious. While Seth and Evan talk big, they’re actually good kids underneath their bravado and it’s easy to identify with them. Hader and Rogen are hilarious as the last two people who should have any responsibility for the law and their life advice to Fogell is brilliant. Of course if you don’t enjoy director, Judd Apatow’s brand of comedy or you find any  of the cast annoying it’s probably not for you but I think it’s one of the best teen comedies made in the last decade. 4/5

I can smell the desperation!

I can smell the desperation!

Things I have been cooking lately #103: Moroccan mussels with sun-dried tomato toasties

This is another awesome recipe that I have adapted from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. I have never cooked mussels from scratch before because I have always found them a little intimidating but this recipe is quick, easy and the results were delicious.

Moroccan mussels with sun-dried tomato toasties
Adapted from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals

For the mussels

2kg fresh mussels
2 tablespoons harissa paste
4 cloves garlic
2 preserved lemons
2 tins chopped tomatoes
A pinch of saffron
A bunch of fresh coriander

For the toasties

1 ciabatta loaf
2 – 4 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato paste

For the tzatziki

1/2 a cucumber
4 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
Half a bunch of mint

Salt
Olive oil

First clean the mussels. You should rinse them thoroughly with cool water and throw out any that are broken or don’t close when gently tapped. Also pull out any beards.

Then put a large roasting tray over a medium heat. Pour in a little olive oil and then crush in the garlic, add the harissa and cook for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, safron, finely chopped preserved lemons, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Add the mussels and cover with a double-layer of foil to steam for 5 – 6 minutes.

While this is happening put your griddle pan over a medium heat. Cut the ciabatta in half horizontally and then vertically so you have 4 “batons”. Gently grill the batons in the pan and then spread with the sun-dried tomato paste.

Grate the cucumber into a bowl and add a good pinch of salt. The squeeze the cucumber to get rid of the excess water. Add the yoghurt and the finely chopped mint. Stir well.

Remove the foil from the mussels. If any mussels have not opened, discard them. Sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top and serve with the ciabatta batons and tzatziki for dipping.

Serves 4

Mussels