Random: August 2009 Archives

What's in a name?

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Political anagrams have long been a source of amusement, especially if they can be seen as standing up some pre-existing political point. Two notable examples are of Virginia Bottomley (I'm an evil Tory bigot, somewhat unfairly) and Tony Blair (if you use the full "Tony Blair MP" you get I'm Tory Plan B). 

The shorter a name the harder it is to get a good anagram, which is why Rich Arse is so impressive for Chris Rhea. With this in mind, I wondered whether the Scottish parties and their nice long names might provide some easy pickings. Remember, it's only a meaningless game.

Scottish Conservative Party
Catchy Transvestite Proviso
Trashy Coven Visit Spectator - I envisage this as the Spectator magazine
Activate Press Thirst Convoy
Soviet Tavern Chastity Corps
Invasive Crotch - Sporty Taste

Scottish Green Party
Persistent Chat Orgy
Prosthetic Angry Set
Shoestring Party Etc - this is 100% true, so appears despite being a bad anagram
Gritty Phone Actress
Atheist Gentry Corps 

Scottish Labour Party
Statutory Crab Polish
Busy Hospital Tractor
Solitary Butch Pastor
Robust Postal Charity
Trashy Tribal Octopus - possibly my favourite on this list

Scottish Liberal Democrats
Orchestrate Basic List Mold
Bothersome Acrid Class Tilt
Democratic Asbestos Thrill
Storm? Ditch Electoral Basis

Scottish National Party
Hypnotic Trot Assailant
Hast Only Cast Partition
Nasty Atlantic Riot Shop
Thirsty Satanic Platoon

Any other entries?

(pic via weaving)

Good food is only moments away.

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So it says in the Parliament canteen, and for lovers of spicy food this was true, at least until Mai Thai moved away. The canteen food is fine, and the staff are lovely, but it is pretty bland. 

Hence this off-topic post, comprising my top ten hot sauces for livening up Parliamentary cuisine. 

A note on the heat ranking: I could, of course, use the proper Scoville scale, but I don't have the technology to do the tests. 

By my scale, anything below four isn't really hot, and anything over eight should be handled with caution. Also, I'm not an extremist: hottest doesn't necessarily mean best.

1. Mr Vikki's King Naga. The name says it all. The king of hot sauces, made from the hottest chili in the known universe, but full of flavour as well. There are plenty of hotter sauces, but this is rich and complex. Excellent mixed with houmous in a sandwich too. 
Heat: 9/10
Country of origin: UK

2. Sriracha. A thick red garlicky paste sold in big squeezy bottles, internationally loved and great with simple things like fried egg rolls. My favourite version here is by Flying Goose.
Heat: 7/10
Country of origin: Thailand 

3. Mr Vikki's Hot Banana. Apologies, this is really cheating. It's not a hot sauce, it's a chutney, and it's not even particularly hot despite the name. It is, however, so outstandingly and implausibly good that it can come third even in the wrong list. Buy several at a time - I find jars sometimes don't last very long, in one case less than twenty minutes. (note: we've only had the regular - they're now doing a habanero version, to which the link refers)
Heat: 3/10
Country of origin: UK

4. Swazi Fire. A multi-award winning sauce, this is quite the hottest thing I have ever eaten. It's fair trade, too, so that should offset the carbon footprint. Best used in small quantities as a substitute for fresh chillies.
Heat: 11/10
Country of origin: Swaziland

5. Lingham's with garlic and ginger. A classic southeast Asian dipping sauce, also available as just chilli, or just with garlic, or just with ginger. Seriously, just have the lot in one sauce.
Heat: 5/10
Country of origin: Malaysia

6. Tabasco brown. This is their chipotle-based sauce, and quite the best from the most mainstream hot sauce manufacturers: ideal for veggie breakfasts, and presumably meat ones too. Their garlic version is great as well, and the habanero is an excellent hot hot sauce. In fact, the only one I wouldn't recommend is the rather bland one you get everywhere. Available in gallon jugs (!) for $38.95, but they won't ship to the UK. Ask a friend to help you with that one.
Heat: 5/10
Country of origin: USA

7. Patak's Chilli Pickle. I'm cheating again, this isn't a proper hot sauce either. It is the Indian equivalent, though, a very finely balanced oil pickle, both hot and still curiously subtle. A sandwich staple.
Heat: 6/10
Country of origin: India/UK

8. Reggae Reggae sauce. I found out it'd been on telly after I got into it, believe it or not, so don't let the celebrity put you off. Properly more of a barbeque sauce, but also hot enough to spice up any breakfast. Not recommended on porridge, though. Also, I'd avoid the guava version. It sounds like a good idea, but it's actually really tasteless.
Heat: 4/10
Country of origin: UK

9. South Devon Chili Company's Hot Habanero. A really citrusy number, more so than one might expect from a habanero-based sauce, but also one to apply sparingly. A 60ml bottle should last ages, at least a month.
Heat: 9/10
Country of origin: UK

10. Mama Africa's Peri-peri.  Another really fierce one, made from sacanas (not a variety I've come across elsewhere), but again with a nice broad flavour to it. Approach with caution. Comes with a nice tassel on the bottle, if you like that sort of thing.
Heat: 10/10
Country of origin: South Africa

Finally, seeing as I'm endorsing businesses, Edinburgh and Glasgow residents should check out Lupe Pintos, where many of these sauces can be found and many more besides. It's a spicy treasure trove.
lutherkingdream.jpgPeter Cranie tells the story today of his recent experiences in the dreamland version of Iran. I think it's time to start admitting how political obsession can work its way into dreams. 

This is not cool. In fact, it's properly embarrassing. But here goes. In about 2001, I dreamt an entire Scottish Parliamentary by-election for the Angus constituency. 

The SNP's candidate was Shona Robison, since 2003 the MSP for Dundee East and since 2007 the Minister for Public Health. The Tory challenger was Ben Wallace, now the MP for Lancaster and Wyre. 

I don't think it's any coincidence that I'd worked with both of them through the cross-party group on refugees and asylum seekers, where Wallace defied his whip just by joining the group. His military experience meant he "knew what they've been through", as he put it, and she was the group's efficient convener.

Both were regional list MSPs for the Northeast at the time, so would also have been relatively plausible choices as candidates, and the Tories have indeed been in second place in the seat every time it's been contested. I don't remember anyone else getting a look-in, presumably because the squeeze effect works even in dreams. Nor was there any explanation about what had happened to Andrew Welsh, who still represents Angus at Holyrood. 

When I say I dreamt it, I don't mean that I just dreamt there was a by-election. There was a hustings, copious newspaper coverage, Brian Taylor doing pieces to camera and vox pops, and a full by-election special. Sadly, I woke up before the declaration, in a reversal of the normal run of things, so I can't tell you who won.

I've got one more even more bizarre political dream to confess to as well. If enough other anoraks come out of the woodwork with shameful political dreams I'll do the followup here. It can't just be me and Peter.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Random category from August 2009.

Random: May 2009 is the previous archive.

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