Usual drill – recipe at the bottom of this post. This week’s Slimming World Classic is baked bean lasagne, just in case there wasn’t a strong enough stench of death blowing out your arse of an evening. It’s actually pretty tasty, though we’ve added mince because we’re such incorrigible rogues…by the way, I’m never 100% sure whether to use lasagna or lasagne, so pick one and roll with it.
You may remember that I said I wasn’t going to talk in a chronological fashion about our trip to Ireland? Well there’s a reason – me saying that we went out driving each day doesn’t sound alluring, so, here’s some more random scattershot thoughts about our holiday, in no particular order.
The first town that we visited was a tiny little village called Waterville, which was actually quite charming. However, it didn’t bode especially well given everything was shut bar one fish shop (I don’t do fish) and a ‘crafts’ shop. I can’t stand ‘crafts’. I just can’t. Everything about craft shops wind me up, from the nonsense tat on offer to the twiddley-dee music playing to the judgemental looks that your leather shoes get from Astrid Moonglow behind the counter. But who buys this shit anyway? Who has ever walked into a craft shop and said ‘Now that’s just what I’ve been looking for – the entire works of B*Witched played on a pan-pipe and fiddle’ or, to that end, what sums up a holiday more than an shamrock-shaped ashtray with ‘I ❤ Ireland’ emblazoned on it in flaking gold Mistral? I’ve never felt the need to fragrance my home with incense sticks which smell like lavender and burning hair and nor do I feel the need to dry my dishes with a teatowel with Daniel O’Donnell’s slightly warped face on it. Frankly, I wouldn’t dry my arse with a picture of Daniel O’Donnell but that’s entirely beside the point. We did the very ‘us’ thing of tutting at the window as we walked past and spent a good five minutes wondering how the hell a craft shop in the arse-end of Ireland stays profitable enough to remain open on a grey, dismal day when suddenly our questions were answered by the sight of an David Urquhart coach straining over the horizon and about 300 Chinese tourists bustling out to take pictures of an inexplicable Charlie Chaplin statue.
As an aside, I had to google David Urquhart there to check the spelling and amongst reviews of his coach company, I found reviews for a Pontins resort which were titled ‘NOT AS BAD AS IT COULD HAV BEEN’ (spelling hers, not mine). Is there ever a sentence that sums up a shit holiday more than that? And the reviews and photos are ghastly – it looks like a prison camp. That said, Paul and I are definitely going to one of these places, if only so I can practice my ‘well isn’t that just LOVELY’ face for a week’.
We also visited Sneem, which to me sounds like an especially complicated part of the penis – you know, like ‘Hannah found Geoffrey would agree to anything, especially when she flicked his sneem and prodded his barse’. It was lovely, although I caused immediate and swift embarrassment to poor Paul when he got out of the car to avail of the public lavatory, as I whirred the window down, shouted ‘I HOPE THERE’S NO BLOOD IN YOUR SHIT THIS TIME HUN’ and drove off down the street, much to the disgusted and aghasted looks of the nearby tourists. He only started talking to me once I’d bought him a Nutella ice-cream. Paul’s easy to win around in an argument (tickle his sneem) – basically, the naughtier I’ve been, the more saturated fats have got to be pumped into him – like a blood transfusion but with a bag of Starmix hanging on the drip stand. In fact, Sneem had rather a lot of lovely places to eat – we tried The Village Kitchen (twice) and it was amazing – they serve black pudding on the pizza, and what’s not to like about that? Mmm. Irontacular.
Fun fact – Sneem’s own website actually describes the village as ‘The Knot in the Ring of Kerry’. Now come on, someone’s having a laugh there, surely? You might as well twin the place with Twatt up in the Shetlands and be done. I’m not even kidding – look for yourself at www.sneem.com. I warn you, the website seems to have been designed on a Game Boy Colour by Stevie Wonder.
We had to leave Sneem as we were told, in hushed, dramatic tones like someone imparting a nuclear code or warning of an oncoming plague, that there was a tractor rally happening and the roads would be chaos. Good heavens – why there wasn’t a full BBC News crew there I still don’t know. I tease I tease, I know you need to find excitement where you can in a place like that – trust me, I grew up in a tiny village where the only excitement was the fortnightly library and wanking, though not at the same time, and certainly not with the librarian as she had a bigger beard than I did.
Whilst I’m here, driving around Ireland – and in particular, the Ring of Kerry, was an unending joy. The rain (which we love, so didn’t bother us) kept most of the other tourists at bay and it felt like we had the place to ourselves. They could do with levelling out some of the roads though because good lord it was bumpy (not helped by the fact that as usual I was driving like I’d stolen the car from the Garda). I was always told to drive like I had a pint of milk on the dashboard and I didn’t want to spill it – by the time I’d finished it would have been butter. I did show a little restraint after a particularly pronounced bump in the road where I almost turned the car into a convertible using nought but my own head.
I did manage to get stuck behind a caravan – almost inevitably – and immediately started turning the air blue due to the fact I couldn’t get past. I’m not against caravans – it’s nice that the happily celibate and doubly incontinent have a place to rest their heads – but I could have parked my car, lay down in the road and farted my way home and it would have been quicker. Every turn in the road required shifting down to first and piloting his Shitbox 3000 round the corner like it was made out of tissue and the branches on the tree were broken glass. I managed to overtake with Paul holding my left hand down so I couldn’t stick my fingers up at him as I went past. There’s no need to drive so bloody slowly!
That burst of anger seems like a good place to leave it, actually.
Tonight’s classic is baked bean lasagne. Confession time: we’ve made this before, but, as per usual with slimming world recipes, it didn’t taste that good. I’m a firm believer in taking proper recipes and slimming them down, remember? So we’ve jazzed it up a bit by adding mince, but you could just as easily leave that out. I’m not your keeper, for goodness sake.
to make baked bean lasagna, you’ll need:
one onion, 250 of lean mince, 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, nice yellow pepper, any mushrooms that haven’t grown legs yet, 2 tins of baked beans, garlic (powder or cloves, but grate finely if you’re using cloves) salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, dried lasagne sheets (pre-soaked if the packet says to do so, but for fucks sake don’t use fresh lasagne sheets or your consultant will be sticking pins in their voodoo doll of you, tub of quark, 30g of parmesan, 30g of extra strong cheddar (both cheeses being 1 healthy extra each) and an egg. Basil leaves and tomato for the top if you’re a pretentious sort.
to make baked bean lasagna, you should:
- finely chop the pepper, onion, garlic and mushrooms and hoy in a pan and lightly cook them off for a few minutes in a drop of oil, with the soy sauce and worcestershire sauce added for good measure (a tsp each)
- add the mince with all the rakish carelessness of a lorry driver dumping a jazz mag in a hedge and brown it off
- tip the beans and tomatoes into the pot and allow to simmer until the sauce is nice and thick
- meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce by whisking violently together the quark, egg and 30g of parmesan, with a good twist or two of salt and pepper
- if you really want to splash out, buy a cheese sauce mix – this lasagna easily serves four so a 7.5 syn cheese mix (which is what the Schwartz cheese mix is works out at a fraction under 2 syns a serving, and that’s nowt!)
- layer it in a pyrex dish – mince first (use a slotted spoon to take the mince from the pan to the dish, and that way your lasagne won’t be all sauce…), then the lasagna sheets, then the sauce, then the mince, then the sheets, then the sauce, and then wrap it all in foil and throw it in the oven for 40 minutes on 190 degrees – check on it after 30 minutes to make sure it hasn’t turned to ash
- take it out, remove the foil, add the grated cheddar and any poncy decoration you like and pop it back in the oven for ten minutes or so until the cheese is golden and crunchy.
You really ought to serve this with a bit of salad but there’s a lot of superfree in there. So up to you.
I’m off now – Transco are sending an engineer around to fit a tap to my arse to relieve the pressure. Enjoy!