Happy First Birthday, Virtual Hot Tub!

The Top 5 Posts on the Virtual Hot Tub

Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub is now one year old!

Actually, the first anniversary was on March 24th.  So I’m late, again.  But I’ve been so busy capturing vital events like Sci-Fi Weekender, Kurt Cobain’s passing, Easter and all the other stuff that I just haven’t had time to get round to celebrating it.

So it was 24th March 2013 when I first welcomed you all to bathe in the soothing waters of the Virtual Hot Tub.  Since then, I’ve posted all manner of weird and wonderful items on the blog.  But which ones have been the most popular?

I checked out the stats; and here, in reverse order, are the most read posts in the first year of the Virtual Hot Tub’s existence:

5. Skateboard Museum: Variflex Joker

There’s obviously loads of people searching the interweb for old school skateboards.  This post about my old Variflex skateboard has been constantly showing in blog results.  Nice post – shame about the photo.  I’ll remedy that soon.  Take another look here.

4. Questions #2: Full English Breakfast Ingredients

All of the “Questions” posts fared well in the rankings, particularly the food related items.  This one was the highest placed.  Read it again here.

3. Hammer Glamour

I went blog crazy in October with my Hallowe’en Horror Fest.  This post, which counted down the top ten Hammer Horror babes, has been incredibly popular.  Lots of people Googling sex and horror, I guess.  Check it out here.

2. The Best Man’s Speech

Over 150 people have read this post, commemorating the wedding of my friends Cathryn and Jarrod.  It’s nice that this article has been read so many times.  Have another look here.

So what’s the most read blog post on the Virtual Hot Tub, in the first year?  It is:

1. A Letter to the New York Post

This piece, which recounted my experiences in New York on September 11th, caught people’s attention much more than I thought it would.  I suppose it went “viral” – more than 475 views.  It certainly received an amazing, and heart warming, response.  Thanks to all who shared it.  Read it again here.

There you go: the top 5 blog posts on Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, thanks for being a part of it.  Your contribution – and interest – has helped make this worthwhile.

Plenty more to come, so stay tuned.

Questions #6: The Ultimate Burger

We’ve just installed a new burger grill at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Here’s the deal: you get one super supreme grilled burger, inside a quality bun.  You can have four toppings of your choice on your burger – anything you like, but only FOUR.

Now we’ve got lots of toppings to choose from.  The obvious to the obscure.  What would you choose?

The only freebie you get is sauce – whatever sauce you want, it’s not one of the four toppings.

Q: Which four toppings would you like on your Ultimate Burger?

Jon

  1. Smoked bacon
  2. Goats cheese
  3. Jalapenos
  4. Chorizo

Terry

  1. Extra burger (!)
  2. Lettuce (!!)
  3. Onions
  4. Tomatoes

Jamie

  1. Chorizo
  2. Cheese
  3. Bacon
  4. Onion rings

Sian

  1. Cheese
  2. Onions

Matthew

  1. Extra burger
  2. Bacon
  3. Cheese
  4. Gherkin

Sam

  1. Bacon
  2. Cheese
  3. Chicken nuggets
  4. Chicken noodles

Nathan

  1. Chilli con carne
  2. Cheese
  3. Onions
  4. Chorizo

Iaian

  1. Cheese
  2. Chorizo
  3. Chicken breast
  4. Jalapenos

Me

  1. Cheese
  2. Chilli con carne
  3. Tortilla chips
  4. Chorizo

There you go – just a few ideas for you.

The burger grill is on.  When you’ve had a couple of virtual drinks and a soak in the virtual hot tub, slink on out and head over for a virtual burger.  Your Ultimate Burger, your way.

Let me know what four toppings you would choose – leave a comment below.

* All burgers, drinks and hot tub are purely virtual…

Pasta Sauce recipe

Here’s a recipe for pasta sauce. I would recommend this sauce to be served with meatballs (and pasta of your choice).

Now I’m not one for bragging, but my pasta sauce is gaining quite a reputation as a fine example of the art. And what’s the key ingredient?

AUDACITY.

Do not be afraid, be bold – and this sauce will create itself. The more daring you are the better the results will be.

Pasta Sauce 

  • Onion
  • Green or red pepper
  • Chopped tomatoes (tin of)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic paste
  • Tomato puree
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chilli powder
  • Olive oil
  • Mixed herbs (including Oregano)
  • Sugar
  • Optional: Salsa sauce

Heat some oil in a large pan. When the oil is hot, chop the onion and pepper and put in the pan. Stir and cook the onion and pepper, add some salt and pepper to season.

Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer. After a few minutes, add the tomato puree. Then add Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce – as much as you dare. You will need to add the garlic paste (about half a teaspoon) next, not forgetting to flow the salt and pepper too.

Now is the time to add the rest of the ingredients as you like. Be liberal with your chilli powder – if you dare – and add more Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. If you have some salsa sauce (try Lidl) or dip, throw a bit of that in. I also like to add a squirt of tomato sauce. Some folks like to add a teaspoon full of sugar, to counter act the acidity of the tomatoes – this is up to you. This is a very simple recipe, I’m sharing it as the message is to play around and see what works. You will notice that I’ve not stated any measurements above as this is the fun part – experiment and see what you can add.

Finally, don’t forget to add the mixed herbs. A generous amount of Oregano will develop an authentic Italian aroma.

Simmer the sauce for a good ten minutes. You will have cooked your meatballs in the oven by now, add them to the sauce when ready.

Prepare the pasta of your choice, and serve together with the meatballs and sauce when ready. Finally, finish with some parmesan cheese.

I hope you enjoy the pasta sauce. Do not be constrained by exact quantities with this recipe – fly free like the brave eagle over the plains, and the joys of exquisite pasta sauce shall be delivered to you.

Surf Rider

Surf Rider cocktail

Surf Rider cocktail

We’re back at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub, following a short break due to technical problems.  And it’s time for another cocktail recipe straight from the Virtual Tiki Bar.  This is one I discovered recently and has become a firm favourite.

Surf Rider

  • 3 measures vodka
  • 1 measure vermouth 
  • Lemon juice 
  • Orange juice
  • Grenadine 
  • Ice

Start with four or five ice cubes in your cocktail shaker.  Add the vodka, then add a liberal dash of lemon juice.  Pour in your grenadine – the recipe recommends 1/2 teaspoon but I would go for more.  Be a devil.  Then top off with fresh orange juice and shake.

The result is a refreshing summer drink, not too dissimilar to a Love on the Rocks, but not as sickly sweet.

Soundtrack: The Ventures, the Beach Boys

Drink responsibly.