turkey biryani and Corsica shenanigans

Three things before we set off:

  • I was in ASDA before (the glamour!) and as I was busy upsetting the self-scan machine, I heard some pompous bellend bark at an ASDA employee to ‘fetch me a basket’. The worker had the good grace to point him in the direction of some baskets, but I was instantly reminded why I hate people before I love them. The only thing I would have fetched him was his arsehole through his throat. 
  • It’s approaching poppy season, which means the people whose DNA had to decide between growing black teeth or growing brain cells and promptly decided on the former will be on facebook telling you that poppies can’t be sold in XYZ because of Muslims. I’ve exhausted myself on facebook arguing with numpties, but look, it’s bullshit. The Royal British Legion have confirmed. Just research it!
  • First weigh-in since we decided to give it a bit more effort. I lost 5.5lb (and you’ve seen the meals I’ve been eating!) and Paul managed a respectable 2lb, meaning half a stone’s worth of pressure has been taken off the metal slats of our bed. Good. See, eating properly works, so put down your Scan-Bran and crack on.

A lovely lady at class last night told me I had to crack on with my Corsica holiday trip – and she’s quite right, of course, as ladies always are. So here we go. The last entry finished with us landing at the world’s smallest airport and being given a Peugeot 206: Sloth Edition to trundle around the island in. If you’re not a fan of my writing and you just want the recipe, hit the scroll button, because this is a long one. Like you can’t handle a long entry, you FILTHY MINX. So…

After landing at Figari, and wrestling the keys from a woman who probably could have brought the car in on her shoulders, we were on our way down the N198 (the main road ‘around’ Corsica) to the charming little town of Sainte Lucie de Porto Vecchio, which was a good half hour drive away. We didn’t mind the drive, it gave us an opportunity to let the scenery sink in. Corsica is beautiful – a true island of contrasts, with white beaches, heady mountains, green fields and dusty trees – and not what I was expecting. Our car, protesting as it did every time I dared nudge it above 40mph, shuttled us towards the town, and, us being us, we drive right past the turn off for the villa. Good stuff! We realised our mistake a good twenty minutes down the road and pulled over in a dusty lay-by by a beach to take stock. I could have texted the rep for directions and assistance but Paul had packed away my mobile into the suitcase, locked the suitcase, and put it in the bottom of the boot. It was altogether too much effort to sort. Paul insists on locking the suitcases at every opportunity, partly because they’re fancy-dan editions where the zips actually form part of the locking system. He locked them after we had wedged them into the boot of the car. He remained entirely non-plussed by my bewildered reasoning of ‘who the fuck is going to nick anything from a moving car, a tiny Corsican gypsy hiding in the ashtray?’. Honestly, the things I have to put up with. Frankly, if someone is that desperate to be at my passport that they want to sort through my extra-extra-large t-shirts and his ‘broken in’ boxers shorts, they deserve a reward.

Paul nipped into the bushes for a piddle and came dashing out with an alarmed face – not because of snakes, or scary wild boars, but (in his words) ‘there’s SO MUCH SHITTY BOG PAPER IN HERE’. Oh lovely! That would be a bit of a theme mind. Corsica is astonishing, but by god don’t venture into the bushes to change your clothes, empty your shoes of half a ton of sand or for a piss, because they sure do love shitting and leaving the paper for nature. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t imagine anyone would take their skidmarked paper home like a flower pressing, but at least bury it, don’t festoon the fucking branches with it. Honestly, it looked like Christmas in Worksop.

We stopped at a nearby Spar for groceries. Groceries isn’t quite the right word for the food you buy on holiday, though, is it? The only thing we left the shop with that could provide any nutritional value was the receipt. I’m going to hazard a guess that it will be the only time in my life that a bottle of Limoncello, swimming googles, eight bags of Haribo, headache pills, Pringles and enough bread to build an ark would appear in my shopping basket together. We did buy a token bag of rocket which looked great in the fridge at the start of the holiday and even better in the bin at the end. As a ‘car snack’ we bought a pretzel the size of a steering wheel to eat in the car (I was reassured that I could have dislodged any errant blobs of dough from my teeth with the toenail clipping that the previous driver had generously left on the dash) and we were back on our way. Let me tell you – it’s difficult to drive an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar roads whilst trying to make sure Paul didn’t get more than half of the bread. We made our back, veering dangerously across the road and spraying crumbs everywhere until we spotted the turn-off.

I have to say, the approach to the villa wasn’t very inviting – it looked like the start of every dodgy serial-killer film I’ve ever seen – and the architects had carefully and assuredly made sure to put as many possible pot-holes and boulders on the drive-way, so that the 100m drive up to the villa made me feel like a trainer in a tumble drier. It was worth it, though.

Casa_Julia_LowRes_Sept14_SH_02

living_dining_terrace master_bedroom_2

Casa Julia! I’ve stolen the photos from Simpson Travel’s website because frankly, my photography skills are up there with Stevie Wonder’s. I could be alone in the world and still manage to get the back of someone’s head or a rogue thumb into my shots. Anyway, we paid a king’s ransom for the villa, I’m fairly sure they can let me use their photos. Isn’t it beautiful? It accommodates ten people, so naturally it was just the right size for Paul and I to mince around naked and use every single bed to get the full value out of the holiday. Anyone else do that? God forbid the maid would get a moment to herself, we were too busy crinkling the bedsheets and leaving chest hairs in every conceivable crevice to care. Paul went for a dump almost immediately, despite having ‘freshened the air’ at the airport a mere hour ago. He uses new toilets like one might stamp a passport – to say he’s been. 

Nevertheless, the suitcases hadn’t been unlocked more than half a minute before I was fully undressed and scampering to the pool. That’s a fib, I’m too fat to scamper. Let’s go with trundle. Lumbered. Yeah – I lumbered excitedly to the pool. That doesn’t work either, actually, because you can’t lumber with enthusiasm. How the fuck do you describe that grotesque speedy ‘shift’ that us fatties do? Shall we say I galumphed to the pool? That means to move in a ‘loud and clumsy way’, which describes the way my thighs slap when I go at speed. I galumphed to the pool. Not quite ‘Arnold raced out of the door’, mind.

I spent five minutes teetering on the step of the pool because it was SO BLOODY COLD. Not because it wasn’t heated, it was, but because I was so overheated in my ‘English’ clothes that anything less than a pan of boiling jam hurled in my face would have felt a bit ‘nippy’. Paul shouted encouragement from the lavatory (thankfully that was a one-way process – I don’t think the locals would have been especially pleased to hear my Geordie tones shouting ‘PUSH’ and ‘IS IT CROWNING YET’ across the fields) but that’s rich coming from him. Paul has never, ever just ‘got’ into a pool. He has to inch himself in, letting the water hit each part of his body and letting out a tiny scream as it does so….OOOH ME ANKLES…OOH IT’S COLD…OOOH IT’S ON MY HELMET…CHRIST MY GUNT….and so on. He’ll then spend ten minutes with it lapping just under his tits before finally he’ll crack and tumble in like a falling mountain. A fatslide, if you will. I’m the opposite, I’ll dither and fanny on for a little bit and then just jump in. I’ve got the luxury of all-over hair, see – the cold doesn’t bother me so much because it has to penetrate my shag. It does rather look like someone has pushed an old persian rug into the pool, however. Even the air-filter gasped rather unnecessarily when I waded in, I thought.

Once I’d managed to acclimatise to the coldness of the pool and my scrotum had stopped resembling a Shredded Wheat, it was lovely. I swam around in that fat-person style – 2m of front-crawl, bob under the water, kick my legs about, lie on my back. I got a bloody fright when I felt something swim underneath me and envisioning some kind of aqua-wild-boar, I hurtled (again, however a fat man hurtles) to the other end of the pool only to realise it was the bloody pool cleaner. I hated it immediately. I have an inherent and deep phobia of machinery in water ever since I watched 999 and watched some poor horse-faced lady get stuck underwater when her pony-tail was sucked into a filter. Brrr. Although looking back, everyone was panicking and screaming but really, no-one thought to grab a pair of scissors? Anyway, this little device looked like a Roomba – a smooth circle of menace attached to a hose and with three turning wheels, and it’s job was to beetle around the pool during the day (when normally, the guest would be out), sucking up leaves and hair and tagnuts. It was creepy. It moved silently through the water aside from a tiny electrical hum every now and then and all I could think was that it was going to either get entangled in my arse-hair (imagine THAT 999) or it’ll somehow become live and fry me in the water like an especially fatty pork chop. I couldn’t relax until Paul finished his dump, fished it out for me (the robot, not the poo) and placed it to the side, where it lay gasping and spluttering and wishing me dead. We did manage to turn it off before it drained the pool. Phew.

We then spent a hearty two hours getting in and out of the pool, lying on every sun-lounger and swinging in the hammock that rather put me in mind of a big metal bollock. By god they were comfy. I looked for them online when I got home only to discover they were over £1,000 each. I like comfort, but I don’t think an afternoon lying in the mild air of Northumberland quite justifies the cost. Plus, I’d need to be dressed here, and it just wouldn’t be the same. I was swinging away in my hammock telling Paul all my thoughts on the stewardesses and Corsicans when his lack of answering – and his rumbling snoring – told me he was off to sleep. Ah well. Regular readers will know that we can’t go more than a few scattered minutes without impressing some kind of embarrassment on ourselves and it was my time to shine with a trip to buy yet more beer and bread. Beer and bread, it genuinely doesn’t get better than that for a fatty. Don’t worry needlessly however, we weren’t forgetting our roots – the beer was an entirely unnecessary raspberry froth called pietra (recommended by a far classier and tasteful friend) and the bread a foccacia with pressed olives and bacon wedged inside. We’re that fancy. Leaving Paul in the hammock to fart away to his heart, and indeed his arse’s, content, I stole out of the villa with a view to restocking the fridge with all manner of local ‘nice things’ from the other grocery shop I’d spotted down the road.

You may recall that I can’t speak a lick of French. I really can’t. I only managed one year of ‘French lessons’ before I got so bored it was either transfer to Spanish or defenestrate myself. Actually, we used to take our lessons on the ground floor so the most I could have hoped for was a grazed knee and an audition for drama school. It didn’t help that our French teacher had an eye full of blood for seven months. It’s all any of us could look at. No wonder I never learned my pronouns for goodness sake, he looked like the Terminator 2 poster rendered in Microsoft Paint. After a year I transferred over to learn Spanish and well, no me arrepiento, right? That said, I’m always keen to at least try, so I spent the fifteen minutes walking down to the shop reading my language app and practising out loud anything I may need to say – ‘…huit tranches de jambon, s’il vous plaît’, or ‘une petite portion de fromage local, mon amour‘ or indeed, ‘…pouvez-vous me montrer aux préservatifs extra-forts?‘ I genuinely thought I’d be welcomed and praised for my attempts, that perhaps someone would admirably slap me on my back and strike up in French with me about the local political situation or Greece’s turbulent economy. Thank fuck they didn’t – me repeating ‘QUOI’ over and over wouldn’t have quite the same effect.

Anyway, you can guess, that didn’t quite happen. No. I minced around the shop, filling my basket with ham and eggs and cheeses and, somewhat inexplicably, a box of blonde hair dye because I had a fit of the vapours and thought about dyeing my hair blonde because I’m on holiday, which has to rank up there amongst the ‘unlikeliest thing to do because I’m on holiday’ together with having a colonoscopy or visiting the dentist. My basket was full of deliciousness and I was immensely proud of myself for engaging the various shop folk in stilted, bare-bones chatter. I spotted the beer I’d seen earlier and put two six packs in my basket. All good. No. In my haste to reach for a bottle of mixer, my basket tipped over and deposited everything I’d picked up all over the bloody floor, each beer bottle shattering at once in the most noisy fashion. It would have been quieter if I’d ramraided the shop in a fucking train.

Time stopped. Every single person in the shop – indeed, the island – span around to look at me in a most accusatory manner, as if I was some tiny-scale terrorist. I stood there, desperately fishing around in my head for any relevant French, but I could feel every last French word in my brain popping like champagne bubbles, rendering me entirely mute and confused in a sea of glass and blood-coloured beer. Finally, the silence was broken by the absolute harridan behind the till yelling and shouting at me in incomprehensible gibberish and waving her hands around like Tony Blair bringing in an aeroplane. After a good couple of minutes I FINALLY remembered and I blurted out ‘je suis désolé‘ over and over until she FINALLY twigged I couldn’t understand her. Do you know what is shameful? I only know ‘je suis désolé’ from a bloody Madonna song. Thank God for ole Vinegartits! Some genuinely tiny hairy man came bustling out from the back with a brush and set about clearing away the glass with such exaggerated sighs and harumphing that I almost emptied out my tomatoes and gave him the paper bag to breathe into. I wish I knew what the French was for FAT, ENGLISH, CLUMSY OAF. I felt paranoid that the cow behind the counter was going to put a tannoy announcement mocking my silliness so I hastily paid (her slapping the coins down into my hand with such venom that if I turn my wrist towards the sun, I can make out the imprint of a two euro coin under my thumb) and scuttled back to Paul, who hadn’t so much as noticed I was out of the pool.

To make up for my folly, he prepared a delicious tea of French bread, cheese, ham, grapes and that great equaliser, Pringles. ROSEMARY FLAVOURED PRINGLES, mind you. Living the dream! We spent the rest of the evening lounging and watching Modern Family on the Chromecast.

Sweet Jesus. I’ve typed 3,000 words and all I’ve managed to do is get to the villa and drop some beer. I need an editor! We’ll leave it here, because the tip-tapping of this tiny Mac keyboard is getting on my tits. What do we have for dinner tonight? Turkey biryani! I’m making a bit of effort to use turkey mince where I can because it’s cheaper and a lot of you ask us for cheaper recipes – plus it’s very low in fat. That said, if you’re feeling like a decadent trollop, swap in beef mince. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off – it’s easy to make and tastes delightful. Ah fuck, I said delightful. That’s one of my least favourite synonyms.

turkey biryani

to make turkey biryani, you’ll need (deep breath):

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1″  knob of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli pepper, finely shopped
  • 1 tsp of cardamom seeds
  • 1 tbsp each of ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 6 cloves or half a tsp of clove powder (but you’re so much better with actual cloves)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or half a tsp of cinnamon (see above)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 25g sultanas (4 syns)
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • salt
  • 100g fat­free yoghurt
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint (or 1 tsp mint sauce)

You can get away with leaving out the odd spice, just use what you have. 

then to make the turkey biryani, you should:

  • cook your onion gently, until nicely golden
  • add the turkey mince and cook over a medium heat until cooked through
  • stir in all the spices bar the turmeric and leave to cook for a minute or two
  • add the tomatoes, stock, sultanas and a pinch of salt
  • bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to let it gently cook for around forty five minutes
  • meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160 degrees
  • cook the rice however you like – we use the one cup of rice to two cup of water rule – add the turmeric before it boils – BUT STOP after ten minutes – you don’t want the rice fully cooked yet
  • mix together the turkey and the rice and place in a casserole dish
  • cover and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, add a little more stock if the rice isn’t cooked after 20 minutes
  • meanwhile, core the cucumber of its seeds and then grate it into the yoghurt, adding the mint
  • serve everything together

Yum. I am so tired now.

J

Comments

comments

2 thoughts on “turkey biryani and Corsica shenanigans

  1. Hi Cubs,

    Lovely villa; I galumphed through your post. ???? The recipe has coriander listed twice, though – once with the cumin and once on its own. Should one of them be something else?

    Let us know when you can, please. Thanks.

    • Fixed! I was tidying up the ingredients list so it didn’t look quite so daunting and forgot to delete the second reference 🙂

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