Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chicken casserole with Spinach and Gorgonzola

This is an experimental dish I tried out last night. Turned out really nice I must say. What I used was...

1 small free-range chicken, skinned
3 carrots, chopped
6 big chestnut mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 birdeye chilli, seeds included
1/2 bag of fresh spinach
70g of Gorgonzola cheese
3 heaped tablespoons of Chicken Bovril
1.5l of boiling water
Salt, pepper and dried sage to season

After preparing the veggies I blended the chicken Bovril with the water and added the seasonings to it. I fried the onions, garlic and chilli in a little olive oil in a large non-stick pot until soft and light brown. I then added the stock and the skinned chicken. I added the rest of the chopped veggies (except the spinach) to the pot, placed the lid on and simmered on the stove for 1 hour and 10 mins. Alternatively you could place in a pre-heated oven at gas 5 for the same amount of time.
The chicken should be nicely cooked through at this stage. I removed the chicken from the pot onto a chopping board. Whilst stillsimmering on the stove I thoroughly mixed the Gorgonzola cheese into the stock untilfully dissolved. I washed the spinach and after adding it to the stock it wilted in nicely. I cut meself a leg and a nice piece of breast and placed the meat into a deep dish along with a large ladleful of the stock and veggies. Really delicious, the gorgonzola and chilli gives the stock a unique bite, almost addictive. Enjoy.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sausage&Bacon stew

This is simple and delicious. It should feed four hungry people. What you need is;

The stew

A 2lb smoked bacon joint, chopped into cubes
2lb of good quality pork sausages (Paul Rankins pork sausages with ginger and scallions are very good for this)
1 litre of Chicken stock
2 chopped carrots
100g of frozen garden peas
200g of chopped chestnut mushrooms
1 big finely chopped onion or 4 small finely chopped onions.
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of cornflour, blended with 20mlwater

The mash
8 peeled rooster potatoes
100ml milk
2 tablespoons of Philedelphia garlic & herb cheese
a knob of real butter
Salt & pepper

Once you have all your meat and veggies prepared, get yer spuds cooking whole in a steamer pot preferably. Fry up your sausages in a casserole pot in a little olive oil until brown, remove and set aside. Then fry up your bacon, onions and garlic in a little olive oil for about 5 mins. Check out the aroma, it's beautiful. Smoked bacon is best for this, it gives the stew a gorgeous flavour. You then need to add your chicken stock.You can also use veggie stock for this if you wish. Add your chopped mushrooms, peas and chopped carrots, return your sossies to the pot, sprinkle in some salt and pepper and place in a pre heated oven at gas 5 for 40 mins.
After the 40 mins are up, your spuds should be ready to mash. Mash them up plain at first, then add some salt&pepper, your milk, the Philedelphia cheese and the butter and blend together till smooth and creamy. Serve up a nice helping of the mash onto four plates, bang in the middle of the plate and ladel equal amounts of the casserole over the mash. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley if youwish and serve with a good, chilled Chardonnay. Delicious.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Condoms for Little Willies

Spotted these on sale at the Brightside shop in Foxe's Bow Limerick.

This is why you're fat

Here's a brill little site I found whilst browsing boards.ie. Just wanna thank the lad who posted the link to this site. It shows some of the most gross, disgusting fast-food combos ever. Stuff that Homer Simpson would cream himself over. My personal fave is the Giant Pizza burger, deliciously gross:) Check it out!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Wonderful Roast Lamb curry

This is a delicious recipe, definately my nicest curry bar none. I originally got the idea for this recipe from a work colleague who marinated some butterflied lamb with cury paste and barbecued it. I just decided to develop it a little. First of all you need a nice shoulder of lamb. Make sure that you go to a good reputable butcher cos some lamb shoulders I bought have been as tough as iron. I like to use a jar of Pataks Tikka Masala curry paste or Pataks Extra Hot curry paste. The extra hot paste can't be found in regular supermarkets, I got mine from a little Indian foods shop in Denmark st Limerick. You can also make your own paste if you wish by using plenty of onions, ginger, garlic, spices, a little tamarind, plenty of tomato puree and vegetable oil but I'll provide the exact recipe for that at a later date. For now I'll just use the Pataks stuff. The next thing I done was blended about a third of the jar of curry paste with about a half-tub of Glenisk natural yoghurt. This is my fave yoghurt it's lovely and creamy. You then cover the entire surface of the lamb shoulder with this mix. If you want you can leave this marinate overnight although it still tastes delicious if you're too impatient for this step. Place the lamb in a good quality non-stick baking tray, cover with tin-foil and place in a pre-heated oven at about 170C/Gas mark 4 for 3.5 hours for best results. In the meantime chop up about 12 mushrooms, 2 onions up small, about 3 cloves of garlic, a nice two square inches of ginger and both a red and a green chilli. You can blend the garlic, chilli and ginger with the remaining half tub of yoghurt if you wish. Alternatively you may fry them in with the onions and mushrooms, more on that later. When the meat is done remove from baking tray onto a large chopping board. Get yer wok/non-stick pot nice and hot (not too hot) on the stove with plenty of either olive oil, ghee or butter. Add yer chopped onions and mushrooms (you may add your chillies,garlic and ginger at this stage also if you have decided not to blend them with the yoghurt). Add about two more tablespoonfuls of your curry paste and fry until the veggies are nicely covered and soft. Add the remaining yoghurt and a nice helping of the juices from the roasting tin and simmer for about fifteen minutes. You might anna stick on some rice at this time also. In the meantime carve up the lamb (just smell that lovely aroma emanating from the lamb). When the veggie curry mix is ready serve up a large helping of the lamb onto a plate with a nice helping of rice and pour a big ladleful of the veg curry over the meat. Sprinkle with some chopped coriander leaf and enjoy with some poppadums/naan bread/chapatis. Simply delicious:)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Summer pics part 1

Here's a couple of pics I took in the Summer in Limerick. There's more to come. The first is the River Shannon, on the walkway between Corbally and Plassey. The 2nd is that of some cattle taken on a little country back road connecting the Dock road and Raheen. The 3rd is the bridge just at the point where the canal meets the Shannon. The 4th is a horse in St Mary's park and the 5th is a boarded up house in Carew Park (what a shame, that house was pretty new as well).

Retro game review: Battle of Olympus Part 2

Finally, I'm getting round to posting the second part of this review. Now the game starts to get quite tough.

This mountainous area is accessed after defeating the rock giant Gaia who is found in Attica (you need the ocarina to wake him up first). This area is an absolute BASTARD. It's riddled with rock-dropping eagles and hoppy monkey things that are all too willing to knock you into the numerous pits in the area. After entering this area, if you head left you are on the path to the metalwork and crafts god Hephaestos who sells you the best weapon in the game known as the Divine Sword. This also shoots out little lightning bolts known as "The Power of Argos". Use this in conjunction with Ares' bracelet to increase the power of the bolts and to prevent the bolt usage from consuming your energy. If you head right at the entrance you will encounter the Centaur, who hops around firing arrows at you (he's pretty easy to beat). You also come to a cave in which, if you have the Graiae witches eye (obtained in Crete) you will find a door to one of the three nymphs (You need to get the key off the old codger in a house near Athena's palace in Attica first). Continue on to enter the Garden of the Hesperides to fight Ladon the dragon (who's basically the same Hydra sprite except green instead of purple). Once you are done here and once you've done everything in Crete it's time to go th the hardest area in the game, Phyrigia (which was a kingdom in ancient Turkey, Midas being the King of that area in mythology). You can access Phyrigia by the sea route just after the Lamia boss battle in Attica by summoning the dolphin with the ocarina.

This is an absolute hoor of a place. It will first remind you of Crete but the sky is muck darker and it has an excellent Middle Eastern-style soundtrack to it. You will first encounter the Dark Pegasus who spits fireballs at you but just like Talos in Crete you can simply ignore it and enter the old ruin. The ruin is full of staircases, holes to drop down and die, long hard jumps and giant f**k-off cobras who will absolutely OWN you unless you have the salamander shield to block their fireballs. Your objective in this area is to get yer ass to the palace of the moon goddess Artemis who will give you her moon crystal. This is VITAL in order to defeat the final boss Hades. Once you are done with all areas it's time to visit the last area in the game, the entrance to this area lies on the sea route between Crete and Argolis after rescuing the three nymphs.

Tartarus (The Greek Mythological version of Hell)
Once you enter this area you drop down into a section with two doors. One door leads to another similar section while the others lead to a boss/Amazon battle. Once you enter the final door you get to face the three headed hell-hound Cerberus (who is like a faster, stronger version of the Nemean Lion boss in Argolis). Once you defeat him you enter a dark forest area not-unlike Pelopponessus. Advancing thru Tartarus brings you into short, dark, gloomy versions of all the other areas until you eventually get to Hades' palace itself. This palace is full of nasty creatures, staircases and a weird, warbly soundtrack. When you get to Hades use the moon crystal in order to see his shadow so that you can attempt to defeat his. Once he's beaten you get to rescue your missus (who is encased in stone in the room just before Hades' lair). Yaaay!!

Anyway, that's practically it. An excellent side-scrolling game with simple but nicely done graphics, an excellent soundtrack although it's a shame about the weak sound-effects though (although the sound a boss makes after you hit it is cool). Playability is good but using the shield can be frustrating as you must be perfectly still, and getting knocked back after being hit by an enemy is one of the most annoying things in the world. Collecting the olives can be a tedious pain in the anus as well.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this little review/walkthru. Here's a vid of the game that I found on Youtube that comes in a number of parts (Kudos to the vid maker for this).


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Retro game review: Battle of Olympus Part 1

Ok, here's my first post in my new blog. I'll start off with a retro game review and I've decided to review one of my favourite old NES games, The Battle of Olympus.

This game was developed by Infinity in 1988 and released in Europe in 1990. The main story is about a Greek hero named Orpheus who's bird named Helene gets kidnapped by Hades, the God of the Underworld (or Tartarus) to become his bride. Once you press start you get to name your hero and your girlfriends name. Despite the fact that your game's hero is named Orpheus, the letter entry section is only six letters long for some reason. Anyway, this is pretty minor so we won't worry too much about that. The game's style is a side-scrolling adventure game, similar to that of Zelda II. You start out in a pleasant, grassy wooded area called Arcadia and your first task is to go look for Zeus, the father of the Gods. When you visit Zeus, or any of the other temples you are treated to a cool 8-bit rendition of "Toccata en Fudge"(Diddle DEEEEEE! diddlediddlediddle dee DEEEEE!) Zeus alerts the other Gods to your quest so thatn you can visit their temples scattered throughout the various areas of ancient Greece (There's one temple per area). The Gods will provide you with items and passwords. However, if you visit any of these temples without visiting Zeus first, the Gods will basically tell you to just piss off. I'll now review the main areas of the game.

The first area. A pretty boring area really. Grassy with trees and the odd house. Fairly weak worm-like enemies here mainly that are dispatched easily using the club, which is your starting weapon. Vanquished enemies may leave behind enerch chips or olives, which are the game's main currency. Just the one easy boss here, the bull Taurus, who is found just outside the Temple of Zeus. The music in this section is also a bit dull so you COULD say that it fits this area perfectly.

This area is mainly a town area which also includes Athens (where you find the Temple of Athena where you get your shield). Mainly hoppy Fawn creatures to kill here. Here, you get to save a little boy from the clutches of a snake-like vampire woman named Lamia. The Lamia pelts you with arrows which you can deflect with your shield. The only thing that pissed me off about this battle is that you have to stand perfectly still for your shield to work, and there's a bloody annoying hole that the cow can knock you into as well. After completing this quest you get the staff of Promethius which is a little more powerful than your club. Also found here is a rock giant named Gaia but you need the ocarina, obtained in Laconia to wake him up to battle him. Later in the quest you get a key of this old codger which will enable you to rescue a nymph in Phytia.

Now the game starts to get a bit tougher. Here is a dark cave area with a really cool warbly tune. In the caves are pits and bastard bats that can knock you into the pits. In this area you get to save Promethius from the Nemean lion, who in turn will teach you to use fire with your staff. You can also fall into a Salamander pit where you can kill salamanders and obtain their skins so that you can use them to buy a Salamander skin shield in Crete. I hated this area because of those annoying pits and the fact that when you visit the Temple of Hermes, you discover that the prick has popped out to visit Zeus. That means a trek back to Arcadia to meet him and obtain the very useful sandals, which will enable you to jump higher and walk on certain ceilings. There is also a sea route here to Crete (which you can't use until you obtain the ocarina from Poseidon in Laconia) and a nymph to rescue.

This is a dense, maze-like forest area with spider webs and ostrich-type things to kick your ass. The music here is quite downbeat and depressing though. Here you find metrosexual God Apollo who gives you his harp. You will also find the Hydra here. After you defeat this multi-headed fiend a nymph will give you a rather useless sword and moan at you if you speak to her again after getting said sword (She must be in the middle of a rag rage or something). You need the sword to stab the boulber-chucking Cyclops in the eye and open the way to Laconia.

This area is mainly a stone ruin area with various houses , annoying hoppy monkey things and frustrating eagles who drop rocks on you. Here you get the Ocarina of Poseidon for sixty olives. The frustrating thing about collecting olives is that it is quite time-consuming as every olive you collect only adds one olive to your inventory. You can use the ocarina by the sea to summon a dolphin to cross to another island section where you find the Harpy, who can draw you in with her shrill singing voice. Use the harp to drown out her singing and give that bitch the slapping she deserves. Kill her and a door opens where you can fight the Stygian hags in a dark cave area. Kill those three hags to obtain their eye which you use in Phytia to uncover the door to one of the three nymphs that you must visit in order to open up the door to Tartarus (man, that sentence was long). Use the dolphin again to get to Crete.

It's the Minotaur's maze. Outside is the giant Talos, whom you can simply jump over. This is a maze area which is quite easy when you have the sandals so you can walk on the ceiling thus avoiding the really tough Amazon enemies. You will also find Slimer-lookalike enemies here as well as the Witch Circe and the God of War, Aries. You need eighty olives and I think, twenty salamander skins from Argolis to obtain the Salamander shield. This item is VITAL if you wish to have ANY chance of surviving in Phyrigia. Aries is just a prick though. He also requires eighty olives so that he may give you his bracelet. This is an accessory for the Divine sword of Hephaestos, which you obtain in Phytia but more on that later. If you offer him less than the required eighty olives he will punish you by confiscating your sandals. This means that you have to trek back to the entrance whilst getting your arse kicked by the Amazons, then head back to Argolis only to find out that tool Hermies has pissed off over to Zeus' place AGAIN, grrr. The Minotaur is also (obviously) found here, guarding the third and last nymph. He's a big bull-man who has a shield and chucks maces at you although you must find the first two nymphs first in order to destroy the barrier blocking the entrance to his lair.

Part two to come soon.