That awkward moment when you’re about to start a blog post, you open your blinds for inspiration and just over the road is the sight of a neighbour getting changed with his curtains open, his saggy back and ‘Yes, I read the Daily Express’ underwear on show for all to see. I hope he doesn’t think I was peeking – I’d get more sexual gratification from reading the ingredients list on a Rustlers burger. It’s only fair, they’ve seen Paul and I in the altogether enough time to draw a timelapse of our bodies from memory, like a particularly gruesome version of the Take on Me video. They’d certainly need a big pencil. Fnar fnar.
I’m somewhat tetchy as sleep hasn’t been especially forthcoming lately. No dramatic reason – Monday night I was awoken by Paul farting so loudly I thought someone had been shot. I couldn’t decide whether my heart was beating so quickly due to the shock or because my body was trying desperately to dilate my nostrils as quick as possible in the hope of getting some fresh air. I appreciate that’s crass but honestly, I couldn’t drift off for another four hours. I had to get up and wash the dishes.
Last night was the worst, though. Went to bed full of good intentions and Chinese food at an entirely appropriate midnight. The blinds were drawn, our ceiling awash with stars from the little projector we have. All very serene. I was asleep before you could say ‘Oh I wouldn’t love, it’s like a ploughed field back there’.
Woke up at 1am by the heating. Yes, the heating. Our house is now controlled by a tiny Nest thermostat which is apparently learning when we’d like the house to be warm and when we want it colder than a mother in law’s kiss. For whatever reason, it decided that at 1am on a Wednesday morning I’d like to be cremated, because, not kidding, I woke up so hot I almost set off the smoke alarm. If Paul had hurled a pan of boiling sugar in my face I’d have been refreshed. I didn’t even know our house could get to that temperature but somehow it managed it. I went to shake Paul awake because well, I wasn’t going to get up, but touching him was like trying to catch a fish in a barrel full of lube, he was so slick with sweat. He’s lucky, he could sleep through a plane crash. I wandered into the hallway to be bathed in light from our ‘reassuring’ smoke alarm (seriously, it lights up the hallway when you go for a piss so you don’t stub your toe, how thoughtful), clocked the cat having a Solero to cool down, and adjusted the heating from ‘Magma’. Perhaps it’s trying to kill us.
I retired back to bed, after bailing all of Paul’s sweat out of the bed and onto the floor, and drifted back off, comforted by the sound of my skin blistering as I slept.
At 1.45am, the cat, clearly refreshed, thought it was altogether too unfair that I had briefly teased him an hour ago, and proceeded to climb onto my pillow and start doing that ‘knead-knead-purr’ thing that cats do when they want your attention / want feeding. He was immediately (delicately) shot-putted out of the window (we live in a bungalow, it’s fine, he bounces) and I tried to return to the Land of Nod.
At around 2.30am, the cat came back through the cat-flap with such ferocity that he must have nudged the sensor on the back door just enough to set the house alarm caterwauling. Paul slept on, I stumbled out of bed calling the world a c*nt, turned the alarm off and then furiously made myself a cup of tea. It’s amazing how much rage you can funnel into boiling a kettle, honestly. At this point, after my tea, there was little chance of sleeping, not least because I wasn’t entirely unconvinced I wasn’t being pranked by the Big Man Upstairs (God, not some gimp we keep in the attic – though I don’t believe in either). I had the impression that had I gone to sleep, the bed would have burst ‘hilariously’ into flames or someone would have driven a car through the window. I lay in bed, reached for my iPad, clicked it on and was immediately castigated by Paul who claimed the tiny ‘tick’ noise had woken him up ‘AND IT’S NO BLOODY WONDER YOU DON’T SLEEP WITH THAT THING BLARING AWAY’. Blaring away! This from a man who would cheerfully sleep through someone cutting off his leg with a fucking butter knife. So naturally I stabbed him to death and buried him in the garden.
I lay in bed some more, contemplating death and/or sleep. Neither came. I read somewhere that masturbation is nature’s sedative but given Paul was on HIGH ALERT from the sound of one finger hitting a glass screen, ten minutes of my wrist fwapping away wouldn’t have helped. It might have been worth it just to get revenge of Paul and give him a face mask for the morning, but no. I got my headphones, put on a podcast about funfairs in the vain hope that the polite chatter would lull me away, but no, ten minutes in and I was awaken by the sound of screaming kids on a rollercoaster channeled directly into my ear. At this point, I gave up entirely, had a bath for two hours, stared at Paul in the darkness and watched Jeremy Kyle with the subtitles on and someone gurning away in the corner. A signer, not Graham. I’ve never been so sick of my life as I was this morning, with dawn creeping in.
Still, other people have it worse, don’t they?
Tonight’s recipe is simple enough to make – it’s macaroni cheese, but poshed up a bit with the addition of roasted garlic and a sauce made from goat cheese and Quark. Oh and there’s rosemary, for that ostentatious-bastard look.
Look, it’s really hard to make a white dish on a white plate look attractive. It did taste good though! This serves four. There’s a lot of garlic in there but it adds so much flavour, and garlic cooked slowly loses a lot of potency, You could leave it out if you don’t want to be Stinky McGee though.
so to make rosemary and goat cheese macaroni cheese, you’ll need:
- 400g pasta
- 100g soft goats cheese (14 syns between four)
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
- 115g quark
- 3 tbs dried rosemary
- a head of garlic
so to make rosemary and goat cheese macaroni cheese, you should:
- cut a head of garlic in half horizontally, rub on a bit of oil, put on a tray and put in the oven on a low heat for an hour or so, then scoop out all the sugary, sticky garlic and put to one side
- heat a large pan of boiling water and cook the pasta according to instructions – reserving about 200ml of the pasta water, and drain and set aside
- heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the chicken, cooking until golden
- reduce the heat to low and add the cheese, quark and rosemary and stir well to combine, adding in the soft sticky garlic flesh from earlier
- add the mixture to the drained pasta, adding a little pasta water as necessary to loosen the sauce and serve