I’m going to warn you, I’m in a right old grump today. But what’s new! I write better when I’m angry anyway.
You have no idea how much it pains me to write sizzlin’ in the title instead of sizzling, but Paul threatened to withhold sex if I didn’t acquiesce, and so here we are. In a perfect world there would be no need for unnecessary shortenings of random words, but it’s not a perfect world, and I’m not a perfect person. So sizzlin’ it is. Sizzling puts me in mind of those awful pubs where they bring your food out and slide it out onto a scalding hot bit of stone so it ‘sizzles’ and you’re supposed to sit there rapturous whilst your food bubbles. Perhaps it’s because I’m a curmudgeonly-old-before-his-type fart but I don’t get it – I’ve seen stuff heating up before, I’ve used a pan in my lifetime. If they brought it to the table and heated the food via some Rube Goldberg machine that involved flamethrowers and magnetite, I’d perhaps crack a smile. Those types of pub are always full of the same type of people:
- those who can’t eat their Sunday dinner without the application of three separate condiments that have to be brought to the table by some harried waitress with a lot more consonants than vowels in her first name;
- access day visits from dads sharing wan smiles and thin conversation with the top of their iPhone-engrossed children; and
- the elderly, fussing and gumming their way through a special menu printed in Times New Roman Size 32 so everything looks like this:
“puree of turnip served with turkey paste and parsnip wisps”
OK, so I exaggerate, but still.
It’s been an uneventful day. We had two things in mind – go to Costco to see if they had the giant bar of Dairy Milk that was 10kg, £160 and came with a tray of prepped insulin on the side, and to Dobbies – our local garden centre. It’s a terribly posh garden centre, you can tell because the person blocking the exit tries to sell us an ‘orangerie’ on the way out, rather than double-glazing. An orangerie! Just the thing – I was beginning to grow concerned that my lemon tree was becoming a mite chilled in the North Sea air. Actually, confession: we’ve already got an orangerie, but because I’m not a pretentious tagnut, I call it a greenhouse. He’s actually stopped asking us anyway, possibly because last time he did so I replied that ‘I couldn’t possibly, I’m Jewish‘ and rushed past aghast. I could almost hear his brain whirring trying to work it out, by which time we were away.
Costco, then. Costco on a Sunday. Four weeks before Christmas. On ‘sample’ day. On a list of fun activities, that sits just above peeling off my face with the edge of a corned beef tin and just below shitting out an armchair. Busy? We didn’t walk around, we just blended with a group of around 200 into one giant shell-suited mass and went as one, gliding down the aisles grabbings things as we went. I was gutted – there’s nothing I like more than taking my time, judging people who are buying 84 Andrex Quilted and wondering who the fuck decides on a Sunday that what they really need to buy is 24 jars of chilli peppers. Naturally, because it was sample day, every single aisle was capped by some poor dolt in a pinny handing out ‘samples’ and, as a consequence, 50 or so slack-jawed simpletons all jostling and pushing to try and get a paper cup with FOUR FUCKING HARIBO in them. I can’t abide queues at the best of times and wouldn’t have stopped if they were offering to tickle my balls and give me cold hard cash, but jesus, the lack of dignity people display over a ‘freebie’! I was tempted to spit my chewing gum on the floor and shout ‘FREE PRE-CHEWED MINTS’ to cause a stampede but the exit was far away and I didn’t have my running shoes on.
You witness this ugliness on Black Friday and during the sales and I just can’t get my head around it. I can’t! You see them on the television, queueing up outside of Next so at 5am they can rush in and have the pick of all the shit that no person wanted during the only time of the year pretty much guaranteed to empty your stock room, so what’s left is the absolute dregs. Wahey! I’m sure Aunt Marjorie will be delighted with her jumper stained with the greasy fingers of the desperate and the nonsensical. There was a guy on Look North the other day who had been queueing outside of Currys all night in anticipation of the bargains galore he expected from Black Friday. He was the only one who turned up. When they interviewed him on the television you could see in his eyes that he regretted his decision, but clearly didn’t want to back down, and he was later shown staggering shamefaced out of the shop after two hours (TWO HOURS! The only way I’d spend two hours in Currys would be if I’d had a cardiac arrest in the TV section, and that’s pretty bloody likely given how high their prices are). What had he picked up? I couldn’t see everything, but there were at least four graphics cards, two blu-ray players and some speakers. Not good speakers, I add. It was as if he was the sole contestant in the world’s most depressing version of Fun House – one where Melanie and Martina had long since died and Pat Sharp didn’t have a haircut that looked like Stevie Wonder had done it as a favour. He claimed to have spent £4,500, and all I could say to Paul was ‘Yes, but what price dignity?’. Takes all sorts.
It took us almost 45 minutes in Costco to pick up a wheelbarrow of tea-bags, a mountain of coffee and a box of Rice Krispies so big that I feel like I’m in a shit version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids every time I look at it. It then took us almost an hour to get out of the ‘Metrocentre’ area, which was awash with red-faced families in oversized cars all trying to cram into the same lane. Luckily, we had the audiobook version of Carrie to finish in the car, so we were fairly content, though god knows what passer-bys must have thought to hear some American woman screaming about dirtypillows and menstrual blood coming from our car. I’d love to be telekinetic but I’d definitely end up being sent to Hell afterwards – people who so much as blocked my way for a moment in Marks and Spencers would be sent flying up into the air-conditioning fans and turned to jam, or all those Audis that insist on cutting in at the last second and blocking the box junction outside of where I park – they’d end up crumbled into a cube no smaller than the dice from a Travel Monopoly set. The world would be on fire before the end of the week, I almost guarantee it. I already spend roughly forty hours a week looking crazily at the back of someone’s head and willing their brain to start leaking out of their ears. Sigh.
Dobbies was an absolute no-no, too. Quite literally, we got there, and there was no parking and no hope of securing a spot, given the place was awash with those fucking awful white Range Rovers (oh look at me, I’m driving a car designed for mud, all-terrain and exciting driving, and I only ever use it to ferry little Quentissimo and Angelica-Foccacia to their organic flute lessons) (bitch) and other such ‘luxury’ cars. We drove around and around and around and around until I felt like Sandra Bullock in Gravity and we admitted defeat. Paul and I did get a colossal serving of schadenfreude though with the sight of a spotlessly white BMW being completely and utterly trapped on the muddy overflow parking field. The silly arse behind the wheel kept spinning his tyres, sinking him even further into the mud, whilst his granite-faced wife looked coldly at everyone who went past laughing. Hey, it’s not my fault your husband is a useless tosser who doesn’t know how to pull a car from mud. We did, along with everyone else, smirk in that very British way when he got out of the car and started shouting at it. KNOB POWER ACTIVATE. I like to think he went home and had a good hard look at his life.
Anyway, that’s enough bile. I feel like someone who has shouted the anger out, and now I’m ready to give you a recipe. So without a moment more of hesitation, I present to you sizzlin’ beef. Sigh. SIZZLING. IT’S FUCKING SIZZLING. SIZZLE SIZZLE CRASH BANG WALLOP IT’S THE PRINCESS.
to make sizzlin’ steak, you’ll need:
- enough steak for four people, cut into strips (we used the beef strips from our Musclefood box deal – see, always looking after us! You can see that here)
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 115ml worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce (3 syns)
- 4 tbsp passata
- 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
- 3 onions, cut into quarters and pulled apart into thick chunks
to make sizzlin’ steak, you should:
- in a small jug mix together the bicarbonate of soda with 125ml of water and mix until well dissolved
- pour the water and soda over the chopped steak in a bowl and leave to tenderise for an hour (but no longer)
- meanwhile in a small jug mix together the worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, passata, honey and 3 tbsp water and mix well. set aside.
- drain the meat in a sieve and pat dry using a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.
- if you want it to sizzle at the end, place an empty iron griddle pan in the oven and heat to 250 degrees
- heat a large saucepan over a high temperature with a little oil and add the meat – it will froth and look gross but that’s fine – spoon out the steak after about 2-3 minutes, wipe the inside of the pan and then put the meat back in until it’s browned all over
- remove the meat from the pan and place onto a plate
- put the pan back on the heat and add the onions – stir fry for a few minutes until softened and starting to turn golden
- remove from the pan and place into a bowl
- add the meat back into the pan and pour over the sauce
- bring it to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes – it should go nice and sticky
- remove the pan from the oven and place the onions around the outside, and then spoon the steak into the middle – it should sizzle! (if you’re skipping the sizzling part, you can serve it as normal)
- serve, and enjoy!
We served ours with a tit of rice, as you can see. We’re classy bitches, see?