Party nuts in the Sindo

Bought the Sindo last week to get the Aldi shopping vouchers. The hilarious comedy piece by Barry Egan about not doing cocaine with Nigella Lawson was worth the price of the paper alone, but it was the Aldi shopping vouchers that made me buy it.

Anyway. Was flicking through it before putting it the green bin, when a recipe for party nuts caught my eye. I love a good nut, so I decided to give the recipe a try. The nuts were so good, that I had to come on here after a long day and share the recipe after doing up a second batch and taking a photo. ROCK AND ROLL.


Rosemary and Chilli Party Nuts

You will need :

2 cups of unsalted, mixed nuts (I like cashew, pecan and almond but decide your own favourites)

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons muscovado sugar (I used the light muscovado type)

2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes (ease off a little if you are watching your salt intake)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or 160 fan oven (Gas 4). Spread nuts on baking tray and toast for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and give them a little mix.

After the 8 to 12 minutes, take nuts out of oven. Melt the butter and pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix the butter and the dry ingredients together and then toss in the nuts and mix them up.

Allow nuts to cool (but not in fridge). The butter mix will bind to the nuts for a really magic taste.

They make great home made gifts in a fancy jar and a festive ribbon.


The road to the Guinness Storehouse


The photo above was taken today, 12th November 2013, on Thomas Street West in Dublin. The bulk of pedestrians visiting Ireland’s number one paid visitor attraction, The Guinness Storehouse, walk this road on their way to inhale the heady mixture of malt, hops and blarney. I see them every day, walking to and from the storehouse or standing near St. Catherine’s Church with map in hand trying to figure out if they are still heading the right direction (the signage is very poor). Over 1 million visitors per year. That’s a lot of footfall in the general area.

A work colleague told me that one day he overhead a couple looking for the storehouse debating turning around as “it couldn’t be here – it’s so rundown”. And they are right. This particular stretch of road is full of boarded up shop fronts and a burnt out pub. It’s mind boggling that with so many visitors in this area of the city that all these premises remain empty.

Wouldn’t it be great if the wealthy neighbour around the corner (Diageo) saw fit to approach the owners of the empty premises with a proposal to either rent or buy them outright and open up themed premises for people to showcase their wares. For example, there could be a visual arts premises for up and coming photographers and artists to sell their prints. A craft premises with real, handmade Irish gifts rather than mass produced shamrockery. A couple of pop up shop spaces – maybe a pop up cafe or restaurant too. A handful of premises opened up for this purpose and provided rent free to worthy applicants who then run the premises together as a co-op would be a nice little boost to employment. It might encourage other premises to open if they see activity in the area. Anything has got to be better than the unwelcome sight of shuttered windows.

To Arthur?

The so-called Local Property Tax – don’t make me think

A number of things have come to my mind regarding the Property Tax which have bothered me.

Number 1

Revenue banging on about how they can’t keep credit card numbers due to Data Protection reasons. This is clearly nonsense. We keep getting told that “all we are asking at this time is how you intend to pay your property tax. There is no need to pay until 2014”.

Yes, that is very clear. People want to be able to pay by credit or debit card but don’t want to pay today. If all Revenue are looking for is a declaration of payment method before a certain date then let people indicate “I will pay by credit/debit card” on the form, and then:

  • Enter an email address
  • Get email reminder with link to pay online at the due date
  • Pay tax
  • End of process

Another point. Many services online offer free trials (e.g. Netflix, Spotify etc) for 30 days but require a credit card number to be entered. Credit card is then charged after the 30 days. This happens the world over. No data protection issues. Are Revenue not PCI compliant and that’s the reason why they can’t do something similar? Or is it a case that “enter credit card details now and pay later” can’t be handled by payment processors for larger amounts which vary for every customer? It just seems odd to me that Revenue cannot accomodate credit/debit card payments on the due date.

Writing on the Irish Times website today, Jim Carroll is flabbergasted at why people don’t just use one of the alternatives to using a credit or debit card. Perhaps the reason is that people don’t want to give Revenue their bank account details.

Number 2

Listening to Matt Cooper interview a Revenue project manager earlier this week, he said he found the payment form difficult and couldn’t see where to pay in a lump sum in March 2014. The Revenue official was very dismissive of Cooper’s point, and went on to say the option is called “Single Debit Authority”. Jesus Christ – why couldn’t they put something on the form that said “One time payment from my current account in March 2014” instead. Plain English campaign anyone? We’re not all intimately familiar with the banking system and revenue terminology, so just make it simple for people.

And finally

Is 1.49% the best rate that Revenue can get from their credit card payment provider? 800,000 households paid the tax by credit or debit card during the year. Given that the €175m was raised from 1.58m tax returns, the average tax paid was €110. 800k households paying €110 = €88m revenue and up to €1.3m going to the credit card processor. That’s nice money for whoever got the job (which was presumably advertised for on E-Tenders). In a full year, this could rise to almost €2.7m to use credit cards we already pay the government for the privilege of owning and using to spend our own money. Really, you couldn’t make it up.

Finally, finally

If a person indicates they want to pay by “Single Debit Authority” and then, like normal people on normal non public sector salaries, find their bank account lacking funds in March, presumably they can ring up Revenue and say they now want to pay by credit card. Are Revenue going to say no?

10 comments you could just cut and paste into any article on The Journal and it would be totally fine..

  1. The government need 2 be called to account. Itsa dizgrace what dey r doing . Why should we have to put up with this. storm the dail now. bertie and his like and cowen all of them ruined the country.
  2. Burn the bondholders. Enda and Noonan and the lot of them with their property tax and they don’t have to worry about day to day living expenses with their cushy jobs and drivers and pensions and free hair dos and free drink in the bar. Feck the lot of them.
  3. The previous commenter doesn’t have a clue what he or she is talking about. Read my 2,000 word theory below on why I am right and you are wrong.
  4. Muppets.
  5. I think it’s awful the way people downvoted the previous comments. Why do people do that. People are sooo horrible on the internet.
  6. Abortion is murder. Your are wrong, I am right.
  7. Abortion is not murder. Your are wrong. I am right.
  8. The catholic church should give all their money to the poor and solve world hunger. Meanwhile, I am drinking my skinny frappe latte and give fuck all to any charity.
  9. The Journal, this article is pointless. Is there not more important things to be writing about?
  10. Ehhh. You’d want to check the spelling on that headline.

Take your pick, go forth and multiply on The Journal