For week two, we’re going to…FRANCE!
But before we get started, I come bearing good news. I’m sorry, that never normally happens, I’ve been under pressure, it’s that time of the month, I’m just keen etc. No, remember our bathroom problem where Paul and I were down to one tiny bulb in our bathroom, turning every trip to brush our teeth or wipe our bum into a perilous adventure fraught with tension that we’d be plunged into absolute darkness mid-pinch? Well worry no more! Our wonderful, marvellous and above all else hella-manly plumber/electrician has saved the day! But mind it took something else breaking before we called him in. Our extractor fan has clearly become so affronted and overworked trying to waft away the smell of so many rich Slimming World infused motions that it went into overdrive and refused to turn off – not even using the switch would stop it – we had to take out the fuse for the lights throughout the house before it finally shut off. Which wasn’t ideal. A plea was made to the chap who originally did our bathroom and he has been this morning and not only replaced the fan, he’s only gone and replaced all the lightbulbs! Best part is, I wasn’t even there when he did it so I didn’t need to feel all emasculated and embarrassed that we had let ourselves down so badly.
One thing I’m a smidge alarmed about is that we’ve gone from one 30w bulb in the bathroom to six 50w beauties – if I happen to find an interesting magazine article whilst I’m on the netty I’ll probably come out with a tan. It’ll make brushing my teeth like being on a mediocre game-show – I’ll just need Dale Winton mincing around behind me explaining my brushing technique to an imagined audience. Perhaps I’ve thought too much about this. Let’s move on.
It was only a short post yesterday as I was at the cinema seeing Kingsman: The Secret Service, with Phillipa who you may know from the poorly-spelled insults she occasionally leaves on the blog. Great film and heartily recommended – we laughed, we cried, she spilt her popcorn – the usual, and that was before we’d even sat down. Colin Firth plays an absolute blinder, really branching out from his upper-class-English-fop role that was all I associated him with. I admit to being distracted nearly all the way through by the girl in front of me and her shovel-faced boyfriend. She’d clearly come dressed for a bet but that’s by the by – it was her haircut which was distressing me. She’d tried to fashion it into a bun but instead ended up with this weird bowl, where, if I had been feeling bitchy enough, I could have easily have parked my 35-gallon-Diet Pepsi there to prove a point. It was upsetting purely because of my OCD – I hate things being messy. If I didn’t think I would have been either stabbed by a needle hidden in her hair or glassed by her dead-eyed lamp-post of a mate I would have reached over and tidied it up. To make things worse, the popcorn was disgusting – it tasted like they’d washed it alternately in Charlie Red and the North Sea. Didn’t stop either of us eating it though, though I had to stop once my lips started turning inside out like a slug. Luckily, Phillipa had her hunger satisfied by the ice-cream, pick and mix and salty popcorn and I wasn’t sent out to get a pig on a spit for afterwards. I do love going to the cinema and now that I can’t have my usual settee-cushion of popcorn and binbag of pick-and-mix, I don’t even need to fret about taking out a mortgage to cover it.
So: where are we on the Two Chubby Cubs European Tour, eh? Somewhere exotic, warm and unusual? No. We’re in France. I half-toyed with taking a picture of a crepe with a Gauloise stubbed out in the middle of it, but that’s not embracing our trip. It’s not like I don’t care for France, I’ve been many times and always enjoyed myself, but I once got ripped off outside the Eiffel Tower by a caricaturist and I’ve never quite forgiven the country for that. It wasn’t so much that I paid a ridiculous amount for the drawing, it was the fact that the drawing made me look like John Prescott examining his pores in a Christmas bauble. Nevertheless, here we go…
This apparently serves four, but I’m not convinced. Admittedly we’re greedy fuckers, but there was barely enough to have seconds! Maybe factor that in when you cook…
to make beef bourguignon you will need:
100g of bacon medallions cut into strips, 400g small shallots, 700g stewing beef with all fat removed (although I used proper scrag-end beef that I found in the back of the freezer – beef you can pumice your feet with), three garlic cloves sliced thin and chopped finely, 150ml of red wine, 425ml beef stock, tomato puree, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme (use your herb garden or use dried, I’m not judging), 1 bay leaf, 50ml of vegetable stock, bit of nutmeg. I cooked this overnight in a slow cooker but you could easily do this in a casserole pot. Cook low and slow. I chucked in a few whole shallots and some pepper too because I’m just that random.
to make beef bourguignon you should:
fry off the shallots and bacon until they start going brown – chuck in the beef and get a bit of a seal on the meat. Add everything else bar the swede. Bring to the boil, then either tip it into a slow cooker and cook low and slow for eight hours or in a casserole pot in the oven for two hours. Really, the longer you leave it cooking, the more the flavours will develop and, especially if you use cheap meat, the more tender the meat will become. Mmm. Remove the bayleaf and serve with swede mash – use my singing swede method for that.
extra-easy: yes, if you serve it with the swede mash. Superfree and all that shite. Delicious!