Treasure delectable chips

Delicious chips, French fries, pommes frites. Call them what you like but there’s not many people who don’t love this delectable treat, even though chips have never pretended to be healthy.

  Sprinkled with salt, splashed with tomato sauce or gravy or soaked in vinegar, everyone has their own special way of enjoying these tasty tubers, although regularly scoffing large servings could eventually contribute to a heart attack or high blood pressure and other ailments.

 But what the heck. They’re one of life’s little pleasures and there’s few of those these days.

 So, what makes a perfect chip?

 McDonalds, who boast they make the best in the world despite being in the news this week for some other menu McFailures, have been serving up their fries since the fast-food chain's early years.

 They say chips, or fries as they call them, should be golden on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. They must have a wonderful aroma and a tender bite so that when you sink your teeth in you can hear a delicate crispness like walking on snow.

Expert English chef Heston Blumenthal, who is famous for his chips, doesn’t just throw them into a pan with oil and fry like everyone would.

 He slices the chips into irregular sizes for a different texture in the mouth and then washes them under a tap for five minutes before cooking for 20 minutes in lightly salted water until they almost disintegrate. This enables the oil to be absorbed to make them crisp.

  Time on a cooling rack is next before they’re put in the fridge for 30 minutes to remove moisture and then fried at 130 degrees for five minutes in beef dripping until they start to colour.

 Then they’re back in the fridge in a sealed container and when ready to serve, are fried again at 190 degrees for seven to eight minutes before being drained and sprinkled with salt.

 So getting the perfect chip all sounds pretty difficult, especially for someone who can’t boil water without burning it.

 The Maccas’ drive-through seems a much easier option. And you can walk on snow.

Helicopter delays

YOU wouldn’t want to be stuck up a tree waiting for the state government to get you down if the delays in telling us what’s happening with our rescue helicopter is anything to go by.

 It’s been more than two years since Orange began lobbying the government for the helicopter to fly a 24-hour rescue service and more than 12 months since Orange MP Andrew Gee took a petition to state parliament with 28,000 signatures in support.

 Hopefully in a month or so we might find out whether the helicopter can do its job evacuating sick and accident victims out of nine to five business hours.

 The present contract for the rescue service runs out in December so there could be a new provider with Careflight likely to be in the running to take back what it lost a few years ago.

Get behind Jason         

We country people should get behind young Jason Owen, the boy from the bush who’s made the X-Factor grand final, and give him a vote.

 Growing up as the only kid in Albert, a speck on the map between Tullamore and Tottenham with a population of 12, he made his own fun and spent much of his time listening to music.

 He sang for his best mates, parents Patricia and Neville, who ran the famous Rabbit Trap Hotel, which was the model for cartoonist Eric Jolliffe's pub featured in his Saltbush Bill cartoon series.

 On Monday night the 18-year-old will perform before a TV audience of around two million.

 Let’s give him a real red-hot go.

Reduce distractions 

WITH NSW’s introduction of the universe’s toughest mobile phone laws for drivers, we can be thankful technical boffins are working on ways we can use our phones, change radio stations and set the air conditioning just by pulling a face.

 An infra-red sensor in the dash picks up facial movements and does the job for you.

 German audio specialists Harman says a nod to the left will increase the radio’s volume and a nod to the right turns it down while a wink answers the phone.

 Heaven knows what will happen if a driver sneezes or gets into a road-rage yelling match or even just waves to someone.

Your phone could chuck a willy and call everyone on your contacts list, the radio will burst into Willy Nelson’s On the Road Again and the air conditioner will freeze you to death.

Harman says the system is in the final stages of testing before it’s commercially available in two to three years when it will become standard equipment probably in BMWs or Mercedes.

They say the system is all about reducing distractions in the car.

 If you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel or look down then it’s obviously safer.   

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