So, we finally managed to track down an Iceland in the local area today that still had some ready meals in stock. I went to the one in Gateshead which fortunately was stocked all the way to the top, even though someone who looked like a post-menstrual imagining of Pauline Quirke was circling nearby like a stinking,shuffling Belgrano. Not a bad selection either, so I got plenty of sausages and meatballs and a few tikka masalas. In a strange coincidence, James did exactly the same thing and flounced into the Cramlington one on his way home, so now our freezer is dangerously overstocked and I daren’t open the door because it feels like I’m stuck in a hall of mirrors with Wor Margaret.
But anyway, I digress. Tonight – Tikka Masala and Rice. I’m rather looking forward to it, I don’t mind a good curry and the spicier the better. I was going to make a ‘Grecian Pizza’ – I called it Grecian because it had Feta and Olives on it and that’s all I know about Greek cuisine. It was going to be the ‘ring’ pizza you see in the Fakeaways book with a fancy salad in the middle, but could I hell get it to roll right. I tried everything but it was just wasn’t going to happen. A shame, really, because I was an absolute natural when I worked at Domino’s Pizza in my teen years (best job in the world. No, really) and could whip up a thick, thirteen incher in seconds (still can on a good day and with a good breeze behind me). But because I was in a huff I just rolled out a misshapen slab and flung it into the bin when I couldn’t get the shape right.
I absolutely love Greek cuisine, and anything Mediterranean. I’m trying hard to convince James that we need a holiday around there, just so I can vacuum up my own bodyweight in Feta. Travelling is one thing that we absolutely love doing. It’s only really been in the last few years that we’ve gone anywhere that exciting, mostly due to a lack of money or something coming along that is more important (we had to cancel a trip to Iceland to buy a new kitchen instead. Booo!) so a holiday in the sun is well overdue. I still get like a giddy schoolboy at holiday time. I’m sure James slipped me a wobbly egg or two (a la Shannon Matthews) when we went to Germany because I just couldn’t stop flapping my hands like a kid with ADHD. I always had crap holidays as a kid. We once went to Benidorm in the early 90’s which was absolutely fantastic but since then they were just dreadful. You know it’s bad when a few wet weekends at Butlin’s Skegness is a highlight.
The worse one though was to Ireland. No rolling hills, leprechauns or culture for us. Oh no. We went to stay with my then stepfather’s family in a run-down part of Downpatrick where the spirit of The Troubles was still well and truly alive. There were no fewer than eight of us crammed into a tiny two bedroomed house, and the kids were all bundled two-a-piece into three-storey bunkbeds made from pallets and chickenwire. You think I’m joking – I’m really not. The house was wall-to-wall Virgin Mary and that bloody awful picture of Jesus doing a Goatse to his chest. You know the one I mean. I was handed a rosary by an elderly woman and had no idea what to do with it, so I wore it round my neck for the whole weekend. I thought I looked fabulous, personally and never resisted an opportunity to strut around with it.
In the evenings we had to secure the house against the IRA (or was it the Police? I can’t remember what side they were on). It meant some elaborate traps had to be set by the front door in case it was kicked in. It looked like a fancy laser matrix but out of skipping rope. I got a smack across the head from someone who earlier had pissed against the bedroom wall because when I went to get some squash during the night I set off some trap that meant a radio fell into the hallway and set some picture frames cascading down the stairs like a paramilitarian game of Mouse Trap. It was all so surreal! Fortunately we never went back. I think if it had been suggested I would have seriously considered putting myself into care.
The worst part of the whole time we were there was the food – not that it was that bad, but because we were only fed once a day. ONCE. And it was at some weird time like 3pm. Not quite lunch, not quite dinner, but far too far away from what would be breakfast. A nightmare for a fatty like me. Give me waterboarding any day over that absolute horror.
And, for some reason, I came away with ABBA Gold on tape.
I’m glad to say that was a definite low point and they only ever got better since then. To be honest I don’t think I could have tolerated anything worse without doing some sort of spazz-out on the whole lot of them and that most certainly wouldn’t be pretty.
One place I’d really love to go though is the Far East. I’d love it! I love the whole culture and Western mysticism about it all. China, Japan, Singapore – I’d do all of it, and chow down every last crumb of chow mein I could find. I’d probably whinge that it wasn’t like a ‘proper Chinese’ you get from some foul-smelling grotty shop in Blyth like I’m used to. Top of the list is North Korea but the food there is shit so I might not bother unless I can get away with smuggling in a Matheson’s sausage.
TONIGHT’S RECIPE – Chinese tea eggs. No I don’t know either, but James thought they looked cool and who I am to deny my baby his pleasures? I half wondered whether I’d heard him wrong and he was going to fire them out of his bottom like a Taiwanese hooker, but no. They are pretty. He’s called them spiderweb eggs because he’s feeling deliciously random.
to make spiderweb eggs, you should:
recipe – nice easy one this! These eggs are lovely for a snack or putting into a salad – they take on the taste of the sauce around them and so easy to do. Fill a pan with enough water to boil six eggs and a tsp of salt and boil for two minutes. Keeping the hot water to one side, plunge them into cold water for three minutes and then, when they are cold, crack them all over with a teaspoon. Don’t hit them with the spoon like a nun hitting an erect willy – you want them to crack but not shatter. Doesn’t matter if a bit of shell comes off.
Add into the hot water two black tea bags, four star anise, black pepper, salt, a cinnamon stick (or powder) and a big old glug of dark soy sauce. Pop the eggs back in once they’ve been cracked, and simmer very gently for three hours. After this, all you need to do is put the eggs, still in the sauce, in the fridge for 24 hours. Then shell and eat!
I know it sounds like a clart on but this can all be done in one pan and the effect is lovely – perfect for something different! Just like us, right?