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Archive for January 15th, 2011

Stop all this rampant casual pill-popping wanton humping, for God's sake...

In yesterday’s Irish Independent rambo-catholic David Quinn sought to portray himself as a martyr for free speech. Whilst he demonised women for seeking the morning after pill in Boots (preferring restraint or chastity!) Quinn also whined to high heaven about being the victim of repressive feminazis on Twitter. Poor Dave! Apparently some had the cheek to define his views on women’s control over their own bodies as ‘medieval’. He also claimed he’d been insulted and called a cunt. He scrambled about in the dark for 40 dazed seconds wondering ‘how we ever got to a point where there’s even a demand for a product like this’. The word demand here of course meaning a desire for sex outside of a committed relationship, such as a deluxe married one. There are no offers of stats accompanying this ancillary demand. Rather, he seems to have taken the product name: ‘Morning After Pill’ to heart, like Head & Shoulders shampoo could mean decapitation to a psycho. Availability of such a product will simply encourage the easily swayed fairer sex to indulge in quick-fix hot rampant park-n-ride humping at a moment’s notice.

The type of woman Dave sees wanting this pill: ‘Young, single women who were out on the tear over the weekend.’ Why don’t you just call them ‘slags’ and be done with it, someone snapped back on Twitter. Women scrambling for this €45 ‘abortifacient’ offering − in David’s comely eyes a kind of preemptive breakfast muffin termination − doesn’t seem to include 30 or 40-something women like me dealing with a burst condom scenario. Sorry Dave, but I do tend to like it a bit frantic and it’s happened twice, or a married woman worried her ordinary pill may not work after a bout of sickness/diarrhoea. And a myriad of other situations where emergency contraception is needed, including in cases of sexual assault. Imagine in the dark old days if such a service was available to women, especially young women who fell pregnant through incest, rape and abuse. And don’t say those scenarios were rare! If there was a morning after pill in 1983, for instance, maybe the young woman who died giving birth in that dreadful desolate place at Granard might never have been put in such a lethal position.

Instead, P for Pill in the Quinn context seems to spell PROMISCUITY to a congregation of tunnel visioners. He refers to pro-contraception folk as ‘moralising anti-moralisers’. It’s an inversion of the truth to portray those on the liberal side of the sexuality debate as the newfound ‘old right’. Such a dishonest move turns all logic and meaning on its head. ‘The problem with your thesis is that you want to legislate for an aspirational society that doesn’t, and may never, exist,’ another twitterer responded. Nor does he mention anywhere in his quickie-porridge-oats analysis, health concerns or issues surrounding the actual taking of the morning after pill. Even that would be a type of progress or perceptibility. He prefers to finger-wag at the female sexual gambol, citing that ‘demand can only be high where there is a high level of self-defeating, self-destructive behaviour’.

I seem to recall similar fears about the potential for mass-hysteria triggered divorces back in 1997 too. And God forbid if we should ever have abortion available in Ireland, we’ll be dashing out to get preggers just for the Nilfisk novelty of it all. While I’m all for the I Believe In Talking Snakes lobby having their divine say, it’s worth remembering that concrete church & state roadblocks obstructing liberalism began to crumble back in the late-1980s, when contraception became more freely available here in all its ambrosial forms. So the marauding tart tanked up on cheap booze and gagging for it without any prior contraception sorted, is tired nugatory nonsense. Coincidentally this change in our society arrived around the same time news broke in the international press of rampantly repressed Irish clergy brutally raping children on an industrial scale. Here’s hoping Boots launch a 2011 Here Cum The Girls campaign, with two for the price of one thrown in for good measure. In the meantime you can read Dave’s latest sermon here − I’m off out to buy some lube and jump on the first cock I see.

June Caldwell is a writer, who after 13 years of journalism, is finally writing a novel. She has a MA in Creative Writing and was winner of ‘Best Blog Post’ award at the 2011 Irish Blog Awards. You can read this post on her own blog here:

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A lot of people say that you’re either a cook or a baker. I am a cook. I’ve had a rather calamitous past with baking. With sauces and roasting and stewing, you can usually re-claim a disaster in the kitchen. Baking, sadly, is not so forgiving.

My ultimate goal is to bake like this girl. Sure, her cake isn’t perfect but look how happy she is!

My end results are the same as this happy girl, but I go through the whole process in a more heightened state of awareness, regularly crossing the line into sheer hysteria.

So, when I decide to attempt baking, I need to know that the recipe is FOOLPROOF. Cooking and baking are really all about confidence, so it’s important that your first attempt recipe is a reliable one.

I conquered my scone-fear this week by using Nessa Robins’ recipe for the straight-forwardly scrumptious plain scones, which I found on her lovely blog Nessa’s Family Kitchen. (http://nessasfamilykitchen.blogspot.com/)

The recipe worked out so well that I blazed forth in a flour-filled cloud of glory and attempted the more intricate and astoundingly gorgeous Spring Onion, Bacon and Cheese Scones from Delicious Magazine.

Once you master the basic recipe below, there’s no reason why you can’t add your own favourite flavour and texture combinations. Throw in a handful of your favourite seeds to get a crunchy scone, or go for the more unusual grated carrot and a tablespoon of ground cumin. The basic recipe is waiting to be experimented with. Just as soon as you’ve built up your baking confidence, of course.

What you need for Nessa Robins’ Scrumptious Scones (Makes 10-12 scones)

FYI: This recipe works perfectly when halved, in case you don’t want to make quite so many scones.

450g self-raising flour

Pinch of Salt (which I forgot but I guess my added parmesan compensated for that)

25g caster sugar

85g cold butter

1 large egg

225ml milk

For the glaze (which I forgot. See what I mean about a flustered baker?! I’m terrible!)

A bit of egg whisked with a little milk (I think milk works just as well on its own in case you don’t want to use another egg)

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C/ Gas Mark 6.

Start off by sieving your flour and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl. Cut your butter into smallish cubes.

If like me, you have hot hands that don’t make for baking, you can use a food processor to combine your flour and butter. If you have a more delicate paw than myself, then you can rub the butter into the flour until it’s all combined and you have a sort of crumb texture.

I find the food processor really, really useful here, because it takes like 1/8th of the time and you don’t have to worry about your butter melting which could lead to major drama and kitchen meltdown! And that’s not what we want.

Beat your egg into your milk.

Now (if using food processor) return your flour and butter mixture to your big mixing bowl. Make a sort of well with a wooden spoon and pour your milk and egg mixture into this space, mixing everything around with a wooden spoon until a rather wet and sticky dough is created. Don’t panic! It’s supposed to be a bit wet. It’s all going to be fine.

On a floured surface, plop out your dough and knead it, but not too much, as that will toughen the scones. You can sprinkle a little bit of flour over the dough if you think it needs to be less sticky, but it should be perfect once it’s had a nice massage.

Now you want to roll it out. I always use cling film when rolling any dough. I put it over the dough and then flatten the dough with a rolling pin – the cling film stops the dough from sticking to the pin. It’s very clever.

Roll out your pastry and using a little perforated cutter, cut out as many scones as you can. Now roll up the excess dough and cut out some more. Repeat until you ain’t got no dough left.

At this point, you can glaze your scones with your milky egg mixture.

Pop your scones on a buttered baking sheet, not over-crowding them, and bake in your oven for 10 to 12 minutes. My cutter was quite small so I ended up with around 15 little scones, which I baked in two batches

Take your scones out and let them cool slightly on a rack, but they’re pretty much ready to go and be enjoyed.

Best served warm!

Aoife Mc Elwain blogs about food at I Can Has Cook?

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