Wetherspoons do pizza now*…

17 Feb

…And I tell thee, it’s not bad at all.

Hi! I’m Will, Twitter’s @willmill82, and I’m here to, well, lose the writer’s block that has blighted me since I lost my job back in December. This may not be the most refined review you’ll ever read, but it’s important that I do this. I need to force myself to put stuff on paper (or interweb in this instance), in order to get the neurones firing. I shalln’t bore you with the details today, a further post on that will follow as and when.

So walking home on Tuesday night, I saw this: a photo inviting me to go in and sample what could be a game changer:

Now, pizzas in pubs aren’t new exactly; the fancy bars about town do them, alongside fancy beers from overseas what are sold in bottles with labels written in languages that bamboozle the monoglot, this we know. What we didn’t know was, given the popularity of pizzas in fancy bars, why didn’t Wetherspoons sell them?

I asked a friend of mine who used to work at Spoons this some time ago, who explained the difficulty laid with the fact that many outlets would need to acquire an oven, and even then, be assuming that the cooking would be from frozen, they would not be able to get them to your table within x minutes, unlike the curry, chips, sandwiches etc.

Well, now they do sell pizzas. Sort of. To be accurate, some Wetherspoons do, but most don’t. This is a trial, I’m told, that had been going on since October or thereabouts, that no-one seems to have noticed. If one did a cursory Google (or Bing) for Wetherspoons pizza, you’ll note that this addition to the menu has made the Exeter local press, but made little impact elsewhere. If you search Twitter, you’ll see a picture of a man looking horrified at a pizza that he got at Heathrow a couple of years back; however, airport Spoons are a law onto themselves.

But now that they’ve got their arse in gear, what’s it like? How much is it? How long’s the wait? Do they do my favourite toppings? Is it microwaved?

Let’s find out.

In price terms, it was ok. In the Crystal Palace, Glasgow, my pizza came to a reasonable £7.29, given they are going after the Pizza Express / Ask! / Gourmet Pizza market.

Not bad that – a 12-inch pizza plus a real ale for less than a tenner in Glasgow city centre. It is worth pointing out that I was dining alone, however; many restaurants/bars in the area offer two for one pizzas as a permanent promotion, so may well work out cheaper for couples and groups. It is only a trial, though – should it be successful, I suppose they could always offer an inclusive drink as they do with their steaks and pastas, or possibly a 2 for £10 deal?

The menu is a little basic at the pub I visited – I’m told other Wetherspoons offer a choose your own option. I’d have welcomed black olives and anchovies myself, but the menu is perfunctory in that you’ve got a couple of vegetarian options, two meaty ones, and they can always expand the range.

So, the pizza then. Behold! It doesn’t show all that well in the photo (beware cheap android phones with cheap android cameras, kids), but it was very good. The base was nice and thin, but not too crisp. The sauce was top notch, a rich tomato that didn’t overpower the toppings, just enough mozzarella, as well as chopped up ham, pepperoni, chicken, and garnished with rocket, chargrilled chillis (hot ones, it turns out), and chilli oil.

More importantly, the pizza was served on a plate. A rarity these days, one expects these to be delivered on a bit of wood, or a street sign, or in a bucket, or on a painting – Spoons are old fashioned, and this is to be welcomed. It came with a pizza wheel as opposed to a knife and fork, which is sensible, though one wonders how many of those will get nicked before they revert to normal cutlery or just slice it in the kitchen.

One thing it didn’t come with was a napkin – looking round it looked like other diners had them, so maybe it was just me. Maybe I didn’t look like a napkin guy. Trust me, I need as much help as I can get, especially after having shovelled eight slices of cheese, tomato and dead things into my face.

Notwithstanding, a welcome addition to the menu – hopefully, the trial will pass and more Spoons will sell pizzas. Unfortunately, I have no idea what Wetherspoons are selling what so it is a lottery – am happy to update this post with further information as it’s received – if your local Wetherspoons is doing the trial, why not tweet me or hashtag it #wetherspoonspizza ?

In summary:

Food: 8/10

Price (for one): 9/10

Wait: 15 minutes (moderately busy Friday, not long at all)

Hello!

27 Jan

Not said much in a while, but I probably should. Hello everyone! Happy 2016! Will post an update in a bit.

Recipe: Pulled Brisket Chilli Con Carne

22 Nov

Hello all.

As those who know me in real life will testify, I am a big fan of Lidl’s weekend deals – every weekend, and often bank holidays too, Lidl will sell a few items at half their usual price. It isn’t unusual to see me disappear at lunchtime on a Saturday if I’m working to return with a bag full of pork chops that have cost less than a fiver, which then keep me fed for a week.

This weekend, Lidl’s are selling dark chocolate at 17p a block, so I thought I would give chocolate chilli con carne a go. However, my mate Alan reminded me last night that they are also selling slow cooked brisket at half price, £1.99 for 500 grams, so I figured I’d use that instead of beef mince. The result, if I do say so myself, was pretty good: sweet, spicy, and earthy. This recipe makes approximately 6 servings, and cost about £3.50 to make.

You will need:

1 Lidl’s BBQ Beef Brisket (£1.99)
1 Bar Lidl’s Dark Chocolate (17p)
1 Sachet Lidl’s Chilli con Carne flavour mix (28p)
1 Large Onion (approx 21p)
1 Tin Tomatoes (with Chillies) (45p)
1 Tin Red Kidney Beans (21p)
4 Cloves of Garlic (approx 15p)
One Cup Hot Water
1 Jar Lidl’s Hot Salsa (69p, I got it when half price several weekends ago so 34p for me :-))
25g lard or oil (pennies)
1 Chilli (I used a Scotch Bonnet, approx 15p)

Salt and pepper to taste, I added two tsp of cumin from the cupboard.

To start, get the brisket and microwave as per instructions (takes about 10 minutes, including the obligatory allow to stand halfway through). Whilst this is cooking, finely chop the onion and garlic and leave to one side.

Once the beef has cooked, carefully open the bag, then transfer the brisket to a large bowl. Inside the microwave bag, juice will remain, half of which will need to go into the bowl, the other half into your cooking pot. At this point, add the lard/oil and place on a medium heat, adding in the onions and garlic. Leave to soften – should take about ten minutes.

Using a couple of forks, shred the brisket by pulling the beef. It doesn’t matter if you get some lumpy bits and some stringy bits – just separate the beef as best you can.

Once the beef has been shredded and the onions softened, it’s time to add them together. Pour the beef into the onion mix, and continue cooking on a low heat. At this point, take your bar of chocolate, split into cubes, and add half the bar to the pot. Your beef brisket will also have come with a sachet of BBQ sauce – if you want a smokier flavour, add this as well at this stage. The chocolate will melt fairly quickly, but thicken the chilli, so add the hot water bit by bit until the chilli is runny again.

Next, add the spices – so your chilli (finely chopped), spice mix, salt, pepper and cumin go in. Again, this should rethicken the sauce. If there is excess liquid, leave on a low heat until evaporated.

Once the chilli is at a desirable consistency, add the kidney beans, salsa, and tomatoes. Stir throughly, and cook until the fat starts to bubble to the top. Remove from heat.

As for serving – I like to eat chilli neat, from a bowl, with a spoon – however feel free to serve with rice, nachos, sour cream.

IMG_20141122_134637018

Other supermarkets are available.

Will’s Low Fat Curry Recipe!

26 Oct

Yeah, I got bored and made a home cooking video again.

Tried to make it a bit more professional that the usual ones – a plan that lasted exactly twenty seconds.

Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AxQO_P6kfA

Problem is, loads of people on a diet often skip things like curries because they are fattening. Fact is, though, it is possible to make a very tasty curry indeed without using a drop of added fat. This recipe contains no butter, no ghee, and no oil – instead, I rely on the spices to bring out the flavour.

For this recipe, you will need;

(Marinade)

1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 lime, squeezed

Mix in a bowl with your meat till well coated, leave in fridge overnight.

(Main recipe)

400g of curryable stuff (i used chicken but other stuff works)
3 onions
3 cloves of garlic or equivalent
1 ginger root, chopped or equivalent
1 stock cube (chicken or veg)
750ml water
2 teaspoons of curry powder
2 teaspoons of cumin powder
4 teaspoons of fenugreek powder (or equivalent)
1 scotch bonnet pepper (or 2 if you like a challenge)
1 tsp of mustard
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Lots of coriander!

A nice, hearty, spice filled dish, and virtually fat free.

Please forgive the shoddy camera work, and lack of effort that went into this production – trust me, it’s better than my earlier ones!

Thanks.

I could have been a Yes…

13 Sep

Hello world.

On Thursday 18th September, Scotland’s electorate will vote on whether or not Scotland should be an independent country. I’m voting No. This has not always been my view.

As a man who considers his nationality to be a) English, b) European, and quite distantly c) British, who finds himself living and working in Scotland, this referendum is something that I’ve welcomed for a long time, purely for selfish reasons. I figured that the prospect of Scotland leaving the UK would bring about a real conversation about devolved government in my native land, something which has been largely ignored until now. I also believe that a well run, independent Scotland can, in the long term, be a successful small proud nation, as wealthy as it’s southern neighbour, if not more so.

So why am I voting no?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you, from the world of South Park, the underpants Gnomes!

underpants

For those of you not familiar with this episode, the Underpants Gnomes are creatures that sneak out in the middle of the night and steal your undies. Tweek, the caffeine addled character who, due to his coffee intake was unable to sleep, warned the South Park kids that this was happening and, though Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Stan were initially reticent to believe him, they stayed up one night, caught the Gnomes, and pressed them for information as to why, exactly, they were stealing underwear. The answer: Profit.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which anyone can edit, this episode was a parody of the dotcom boom in the late 90s/early 00s, which ended in failure for a great many ventures. A stark reminder of this is the Million Dollar Homepage – (temporarily offline as I write, however I have linked to the Wayback Machine’s archived version from June) – a good percentage of the links are now dead, and in turn, a great deal of those dead links belong to dead companies. If I were to ask you to name a top online bookseller, you’d say Amazon. Like ’em or not, they’re the number one online bookstore (well, everything store now). If I’d have asked you in 1998, you’d probably have replied with bol.com. Who? Exactly.

But what exactly does this have to do with the independence debate? Well, both the dotcom losers and ultimately the Underpants Gnomes were let down by a lack of a plan. Crucially, they both had a vision, and both had high hopes of success, but there wasn’t a plan in place to achieve that. See the above photo? See the massive question mark? That’s the problem here. The independence movement has a big, massive question mark in place of a credible plan for the future, and it’s kinda difficult to see past it.

To be fair to the Yes campaign, they may have a plan, it’s just that they’re either not making clear what it is, or they’re just not telling anyone. A quick flick through of the Q&A section of the White Paper (the Scottish Government’s blueprint for the future, available at scotreferendum.com) seems to be a curious mix of the SNP’s track record in devolved government (Q.217, for instance, doesn’t answer how an independent Scotland could avoid poverty arising, but it does mention an existing council tax freeze), some “don’t knows” (Q.119 – What will happen to Network Rail in Scotland – A. The Scottish Government “expects” to become a member), some things which I would expect to be outwith their control (Q.92 – Who would be responsible for financial stability – A. the Bank of England), a few “no changes here” (Q.108+109, weights measures and time zones), but mostly, the white paper is full of “everything will be fine, don’t worry” (Q.42 Credit Rating – iScotland expects a top one, apparently).

As an economic migrant in Scotland, all I want to know is, with confidence, am I going to be at least as well off as I am now? The answer to that is unclear. As I said earlier, a Scotland with a plan, I have every confidence in. A Scotland who expects that x will be the case, and will negotiate with the UK government on y, I have no confidence in. Which leaves me to one, inescapable conclusion: Come up with a plan, that is entirely within Scotland’s hands to deliver, and that has a good chance of success, and I’ll vote yes.

My criteria are as follows:

1) Currency. I don’t give a damn what currency we use, but it must be backed by a central bank that Scotland controls. I am not interested in the slighted by Sterlingisation (keeping the pound against the wishes of the rest of the UK), because that’s not independence, it’s utter lunacy.

2) EU Membership. This is a must. I have no appetite for leaving the EU, as it’s where most of iScotland’s revenue will ultimately come from. I’m not talking about leaving then re-entering, but continuous membership of the EU, on the same terms or better, than the UKs.

3) Cost of living: I need a guarantee that the cost of living will be the same, or lower, than it is now, complete with figures, and how those figures were reached at.

OK Scottish Government? You have until 7am on Thursday.

Project Fear

26 May

image

image

I’m confused. I thought that it was the Better Together campaign that was the negative one with all the scare stories? Show’s what I know, I guess…

Woman ‘seeking horse for sex acts on Craigslist’ arrested

27 Apr

I do rather like the last line.

Metro

Donald Waelde: Woman ‘seeking horse for sex on craigslist’ arrested Donald Waelde was looking for a horse ‘to play with’ on Craigslist (Picture: Craigslist)

A woman who allegedly used Craigslist to find a horse for sex acts has been arrested.

The 22-year-old, who identifies as transgender and is legally known as Donald Waelde, was caught following a police sting in Arizona.

Waelde allegedly told undercover detectives she wanted to perform oral sex on the horse, the Phoenix New Times reports.

A spokesman for Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect ‘stated the sex act [she] wished to perform on the horse and agreed to meet the undercover detective’.

Donald Waelde Arrest: Donald Waelde (Picture: Police handout)

‘I am 22 years old and I want to play with a male Horse. Simple as that,’ the Craiglist ad said.

‘If you have access to a male horse, and can allow me access to a male horse, then contact me please 😉 I will do something…

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