Monday, July 16, 2012

The Shire sucked? NO WAY!

The Shire is Channel 10's latest reality television show about a group of people who who can walk upright and speak at the same time without the aid of a functioning central nervous system. I didn't watch the first episode but from what I've gathered from the trailers it appears to be a part of a new reality sub-genre called 'dramality' or 'network suicide'. The plot essentially involves these brainless battlers taking on all sorts of every day tasks and interacting with eachother as best they can along the way.

Throughout the series we'll get to watch these characters:

- Existing.
- Reading from scripts and then forgetting to remember that they'd read the scripts.
- Stealing my oxygen.
- Saying things like "I like looking fake" and the soon to be repeated catchphrase "you guys are the best".

Like every other reality television show about a group of like-minded shit-kickers, The Shire will quickly take it's place amongst the other stink lines that hover ominously above the perpetually expanding and completely self-sustaining turd that is Australian reality television. The only difference between The Shire and previous attempts at the general public's patience is that The Shire sucked way harder and way quicker than expected, even by it's critics. In fact, it sucked more than Dating in the Dark and The Farmer wants a Wife combined. It sucks so bad that it sucks it's way out of our known atmosphere to enter it's own unique plane of existence, known only as the 'Suckosphere'.

But what else should we expect when the show's production team set out to replicate an American reality series that for all purpose and intent, is a vacuous, infinite and immeasurable black hole of the purest, most highly concentrated suck ever recorded, Jersey Shore. The suck by which all other sucks are measured by and judged upon. Perhaps Channel 10 thought we were ready for it, perhaps they thought we'd been desensitized by all the other suck on television that we'd become less susceptible to their potent new brand of it. And don't get me wrong, it looks like it really sucked, but on television even something that really sucks can still be unwatchable. One needn't look further than the turd tsunami of online backlash to see that it sucked across the board:

"You know what's awkward... Making a tv show only to have the whole country hate it."

"My partner and I watched this show. Not long after we placed forks on the heater and stabbed each other in the eyes"

"I wake up every morning wanting to kill myself"

And my personal favourite: "THE SHITE".  

Remember that time Channel 10 forced everyone to watch a really sucky, scripted reality t.v. show that not only sucks in an ironic and self-depreciating sense but also sucks fundamentally as well

Congratulations Channel 10, you've once again put your fingers inside millions of viewers and made them really mad. I hope someone got a pink slip for this.

My whisk game is vicious...

I think the last recipe I posted a recipe on my blog was the unforgettable Tzatziki dip that you're probably still using to this day (don't pretend like you don't know which one I'm talking about either). However, it's 2012 now and cooking is cool again so I thought it was time that I once again dug through the archives, stole a recipe from another website and shared the results with you, my flighty readership.

Today I decided to make chocolate and marshmallow cookies and when I say decide I mean it was one of the first Google results that came up when I searched for 'best cookies ever'. You have to be specific when you search for recipes on the internet, there's so many blogs and pages out there dedicated to mediocre recipes and boring tutorials and I find that including the terms 'best' and 'ever' on either side of the recipe you're stealing will generally bring back the cream of the crop.

1. So first of all you need to write all the ingredients down somewhere and go and buy all the shit brand new, even if you pretty much already have everything already in the pantry. It never hurts to have four spare blocks of cooking chocolate and a litre of vanilla extract on standby from all the previous times you decided to bake something but completely forgot or couldn't be bothered. Once you've done that you'll need to go home and then leave again to pick up the ingredients that you forgot. This includes a trip for milk and then a second trip for eggs. It's important to exercise before you indulge in the cookies and two to three return trips to your local grocer definitely won't do any harm and isn't annoying in the slightest.

2. Next you need to mix some butter and sugar together. The recipe said to use an electric whisk but unfortunately I'm not a Saudi Arabian prince and therefore had to make do with a plain old manual whisk. Use the whisk until you can't feel your right arm anymore and the sugar and butter mixture resembles a mixture of sugar and butter that has been manually whisked. If you can't manage this first important step, put the utensils down, go to Subway and eat some of their cookies because you clearly aren't built for life in the kitchen, pussy.

3. Once you've mixed the sugar and butter together you need to add some other stuff like milk, vanilla extract (of which you should have a few litres), salt, flour, cocoa powder, egg and all that other stuff that people use in baking heaps. Baking powder is also essential but you need to use twice as much of that as you would baking soda....apparently. Once all that stuff is mixed together your arm should be throbbing and really sore. Lick the spoon. If it tastes awesome, keep licking it. If it tastes like complete garbage juice, go to Subway.
4. Spoon the finished mixture in equal portions onto an oven tray lined with baking paper and try to retain some kind of order when you do so. Don't be upset when the portions resemble large bird droppings on the tray, they'll flatten themselves out when all the agents get their acts together in the oven. In fact, they'll probably all just mould together to form some kind of grand brownie instead which is fine, brownies are also really tasty. Oh yeah, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius before you do all this stuff. Set a timer for 8 minutes on either your oven, microwave, iPhone, laptop, television, stopwatch or if you're on welfare, count 60 seconds 8 times in your head.

5. While all those crazy agents are at work in your pre-heated oven, you need to make some game-changing frosting to put on top of the cookies. Sigh loudly when you realize there's more whisking ahead. The frosting has pretty much the same ingredients as the cookies for some reason but don't put any flour, egg or baking powder in it on account of your boiling it and there's different agents for that task. Whisk all that stuff until your arm is about to detach itself from it's socket and you're almost in tears. Set your stove top to boil and once the mixture is nearly boiled, realize you forgot to put cooking chocolate in and frantically throw that in as well. Be sure to stir at regular intervals.
 6. Hopefully you have some marshmallows. Cut about twenty of them in half and make sure you get equal pink and white ones. I can't stress this enough. Anyone worth their salt will flatly refuse an offer for marshmallow and chocolate cookies if they look like they were arranged by a colourblind art graduate on student welfare. Presentation is everything, cut the marshmallows equally please.

 7. Guess what, those agents have successfully completed their mission and your cookies are almost done. The loss of feeling in your arm and the hours of backtracking between your house and the greengrocer are about to pay off and you couldn't be happier. Place two or four pieces of marshmallow in equal parts pink and white on each individual cookie. Don't blow it now, you'll be in crudely made cookie town momentarily!

8. Put the cookies back in the oven for another 2 minutes. Also, be sure to keep the oven on before this step as well. Your frosting should be at boiling point now and if it isn't, turn the gas dial on your stove and spark one of the heating elements to produce a small blue flame that will in turn heat the mixture. It's probably been two minutes so retrieve the cookie tray from the oven and take note of the pillowy texture and appearance of your equally distributed marshmallows. This is baking at it's most exciting.

9. Not sure what the frosting is meant to look like, mine turned a slightly off brown which I'm pretty sure is what it's meant to look like. If you're a boring, conventional chef, gently paste the frosting over each cookie, being sure to cover the entire surface area of said cookie. If you're a more contemporary and avant-garde guy like myself, take a spoonful of it and just splash it all over everything until your batch resembles some kind of endoplasmic alien stronghold.
 10. Depending on how undercooked they are you'll have to put them back in the oven a couple of times. Once you've done that put the tray somewhere high exposure where people are going to see it. The more people that comment on  them, the better. You're kidding yourself if you think the sense of accomplishment is the only thanks you'll need.

11. Eat some cookies and book a doctor's appointment to get your arm checked out. :)