amazing ham, cheese and pea gnocchi

I know what you’re thinking. James, you promised me a post a day, and here we were yesterday crying into our Margaret Miles-Thingy tea-towels and waiting all night long. Well listen, it’s not the first time I’ve left someone unsatisfied long into the night and it won’t be the last.

See, I’m trying to be more social. Remember me saying how lazy I am a few posts back? That also applies to social events. I get asked to go to various things and usually decline because I’m a) shy and b) incredibly fond of lying on my sofa with a cat in my back hair and Paul squeezing my feet. It’s what I live for. But see I could die tomorrow and I don’t want people remembering me as the person who was always “washing his hair”, despite having roughly the same amount of hair found on my head as you’d find in a Phil Mitchell tribute annual.

So in the spirit of socialising and trying not to die alone surrounded by cats and a stuffed Paul carcass grinning lopsidedly at me like a boss-eyed Humpty Dumpty, I went along to a pub quiz with a couple of friends from work and two other ladies, who turned out to be lovely. I’m glad I went, not least because it was hilarious.

For a start, it was awash with teams taking it far too seriously. I love this. It’s a fucking pub quiz – you’re answering questions about Miley Cyrus, if you get it wrong you’re not going to be taken outside and shot by the Gestapo. The prize was £47! Even so, there was table after table of people in dire need of a wash and some love furrowing their brows and furiously debating which two countries has the most nuclear reactors. For the record, we got that answer correct – USA and France. I watch a lot of Discovery Channel.

That said, we didn’t win. We came…second from last. We did however win an extra point for having the best team name: Bender and the Jets. I think you’ll agree that is awesome, and I’m allowed to say bender, I’ve earned the right – I’ve quite literally taken one for the team on that front. Or back. It’s certainly better name than We’re The Winners or Quizmasters. Neither of those teams won anyway, so egg on their face. It’ll go well with the cum stains on their trousers.

Oh, I also totally pulled. Now it goes without saying that I wouldn’t anyway, but even if I’d been tempted by the suggestion, his face put me right off. Some drunken arse, easily into his sixties and with a face like a smashed crab, asked me if I wanted to know the answer to who sang ‘The Joker’ and then licked his lips lasciviously at me like he was the best offer I’d get all night. I’d get more aroused getting chatted up by the cigarette machine. Seriously, he looked like that guy from The Fully Monty who was in Corrie with a perm:

steve-huson-the-full-monty (1)

I wouldn’t care, we got the answer wrong, so maybe I should have just succumbed to his greasy wiles. Boke.

Finally, our group got ‘hushed’ and then told to be ‘bloody quiet’ by some gangster granny with a nicotine fringe and a mean look about her because we had the temerity to talk DURING THE INTERLUDE. She was trying to play card bingo like the top prize was a couple of extra month’s on a drip – I’ve never seen playing cards turned over with such ferociousness. She turned around again and said ‘AH’M TRYING TO HEAR THE ANNOUNCER’ (I could barely hear her through all the phlegm in her voice trying to scramble out) and we were kowtowed into silence. I wouldn’t care, it’s not as if we were tuning up a brass band or felling trees, we were just talking normally (perhaps with a slight bit of shrieking from me, I’d had liquor). Mardy cow. Oh! And she was cheating. She had her phone out during the countries round. The temptation for me to lean over and whisper ‘Do you mind not cheating so loudly, I’m trying to hear the announcer’ was almost too much.

Card bingo, by the way – you get given a few playing cards, the Quiz Man has a full deck (unlike some of the audience), he announces them randomly and when you’ve turned over your lot, you win. Well, you don’t win. You lose. EVERYONE loses at bloody card bingo.

In all though, a really good night! 

Oh – we lost 4lb between us at class, but that’s almost an afterthought these days. But let me tell you what ISN’T an afterthought – this recipe. It was amazing – it couldn’t have been better even if it had been served of the bumcheeks of the fatter brother from Prison Break. Easily one of our favourite recipes yet!

ham and cheese gnocchi

It doesn’t look so pretty on the plate, and that cheese top looks like the kind of knee-scab you’d pick off in the bath and secretly eat. I know what you’re like, don’t try and gussy yourself up for me.

you’ll need these:

  • 250g of syn-free ham – we used the thicker cuts you can buy in a pack from the supermarket, but really any old shite will do
  • one chopped onion
  • 250g of quark (taste the flavour!)
  • clove of garlic (minced) (yep: get one of these!)
  • 100g of frozen peas
  • 1 x HEA Mozzarella
  • 1 x HEA strong cheddar
  • 400g of gnocchi (6 syns, and this serves four) 

and you’ll need to do this:

  • gently cook the onion in a large pan over a medium heat in a little oil until soft
  • add garlic and stir until it starts to turn golden
  • add the ham to the pan and cook until warmed through
  • add the frozen peas to the pan and stir
  • add the quark and continue to stir until it loosens and makes a thick, creamy sauce – add a few tablespoons of water if it becomes too thick
  • add the gnocchi and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • once the gnocchi is soft, remove from the heat and evenly spread out the cheese over the top
  • place under a medium grill until the cheese turns golden
  • serve!

Now, what we did at this point was to put it in the oven, with the oven still warm from the grill but not switched on, and left it to sit for an hour or so whilst Paul came and bundled me into the car. When we came back, the gnocchi was almost broken down and the sauce really sticky – it was delicious. However, that might not tickle your buds as it were, so feel free to stick to the script.

Technically, you should probably serve with a salad full of superfree stuff. But hell if you can’t let your hair down every now and then…