If you’re purely here for the recipe for sweet potato, chive and chicken risnotto, scroll to the bottom. It’s below the pictures. We’ve got a load of nonsense to get through first!
Firstly, I almost died today. Perhaps a slight exaggeration but I was busy eating my 28g³ of bran-flakes as per Mags’ orders and watching a particularly loud Jeremy Kyle when an errant bran flake shot down my wind-pipe and got stuck there. I immediately started spluttering and choking but Paul just looked at me with a ‘Oh I know, and look at their yellow teeth’ face, no help at all. It took almost thirty seconds of trying to dislodge this bran flake before it finally shot out and landed with a splat in his bowl of cereal – that’ll teach the unobservant fucker. My whole life flashed before my eyes – far more sitting in front of a computer trying to come up with fresh gags about fellatio for my liking – and let’s be honest, thirty seconds is a long time for a fat bloke to hold his breath, let alone one who smoked twenty a day for three years. Hell, it’s hard enough for me to not eat for thirty seconds, nevermind breathe. Plus, imagine having bran as your cause of death? You quite literally could not have a more boring reason for expiration, unless you were mumbled to death by someone with dried egg on his shirt.
Speaking of boring farts with dried egg on their shirts, we got a rather arsey message from someone “in charge” of a geocache that we visited last weekend, stating that because he couldn’t see that we had signed the log, he would delete our find. Well, you can imagine the devastation that caused in our household, can’t you? It was like when Princess Di died, only I hadn’t accordioned my car into a Parisian tunnel. His message was so infuriatingly terse and snippy that it got my back up something rotten. Why would anyone lie about something so insignificant about finding a tiny container hidden in some nettles by the side of the A696? Goodness me. I explained that our pencil had broken and he went “away to consider the options”. I like to think he tossed and turned all night with his little GPS unit calling to him like The Tell-Tale Heart. I genuinely don’t think I’ll ever come across in my lifetime someone imbued with such a misguided amount of self-importance in relation to the tiny amount of power they’ve been granted. Honestly.
Anyway, it’s been a while since we revisited New York, hasn’t it? Why don’t we take a trip and chortle our way through another day of our holiday in The Big Apple. I hope I don’t get an email from you lot asking for proof that I actually visited New York, but if I do, I can show you a blurry photo of Paul’s arse-cheeks as he took a piss in Central Park. The glamour! Here’s a link for part one and part two. Enjoy!
twochubbycubs go to New York, part three
I can tell you one thing right from the off about New York – there’s hardly any fat people. It’s the most confusing thing. I was basing my expectations on Florida, admittedly, where if there had been an earthquake I reckon 80% of the occupants in Disneyworld would have crashed together to form one amorphous blob (imagine a lava-lamp falling over), perhaps with eight or so of those mobility scooters whirring away underneath. It’s genuinely the only time in my life I’ve ever felt skinny. I was expecting New York to be the same, but no, as we are in the UK, Paul and I remained the fattest of them all. Eh, who cares right? As long as our ankles don’t give out from under us, we’re good to go.
We started with breakfast, naturally, which I’m sure involved half a pig and some Smuckers, which I still think sounds like something your bumhole does when you’re got the skitters: “oooh, Elsie, put an Andrex in the freezer, my hoop is smuckering” or something. Our first destination was Times Square and after getting lost several times and ending up in the same K-Mart – twice – we finally found our way there. I’m not sure what we were expecting – yes, lots of big screens and people bustling about…but it really is just a meeting of streets. Am I missing something? Seeing a eight-storeys-high Gordon Ramsay advertising Hells Kitchen in ultra-HD will haunt me until my dying day – I swear I could almost hear the wind whistling through his digital forehead wrinkles. It’s how I go to sleep now, counting the pores on his nose in my mind’s eye.
We did spot an interactive screen by L’Oreal, which implored couples to stand on a spot and wait until one of the giant screens was filled with a live stream of them, then you were to pose kissing or cuddling and SHOW NEW YORK LOVE. Now, obviously, there was someone out of sight deciding which couple gets projected onto the massive screens, and when it was Paul and I standing there…well…they didn’t put on the big screen. Sob! Was it because we’re fat? Was it because we’re shirtlifters? Who knows. Paul was all for heading straight off and letting the beautiful people have their moment in the digital sun, but not me. Oh no. I stood there with Paul by my side for a good ten minutes until we were eventually projected to all of New York – we kissed, but sadly the photo was taken at such an angle that it looks like I’m gnawing on Paul’s head and he’s trying not to Smucker in his trousers. Nevermind, we still got our moment. We went back later and stole in front of a crowd of bemused Chinese folk and got a slightly better picture…see?
Yes, I appreciate any British person passing was going to be thinking that French and Saunders had really let themselves go, but what can you do? Also, I seem to have morphed into Drew Carey. Paul’s been wearing that little Icelandic flag on his coat for a few months now and we got asked three times if we were secret service. Imagine us as secret service – we’re not exactly going to be chasing criminals down on foot. Best I could do is sass him to death in the interrogation room.
We spotted that a nearby museum was hosting an exhibition by Gunther von Hagens, the German anatomist who travels around with those stripped back skeletons and bodies that show the various muscles and whatnot. Hard to describe but hopefully you know what I mean. Fair warning, there’s a pretty grim picture coming up, so if you’re a sensitive Betty get scrolling! We’ve always wanted to see his ‘show’ but forever missed it, so this time we were at the front of the queue. Is it wrong to show such a fevered desire to see bodies and bones? It was like our arrival at the Icelandic Knob Museum all over again!
It was brilliant – all very scientific and tasteful and interesting, although let’s be honest everyone there was gagging to see how funny the knobs looked hanging down and stripped of skin – like weisswurst, since you ask. Around every corner was something of note – the tiny bones of a premature baby, the nervous system all laid out like a colossal piece of broccoli, four naked men sitting around playing cards with their bollocks hanging down like tiny church bells. As you’d expect, Paul and I tutted at the giggling school party who were shrieking into their sleeves and nudging each other at the sight of a lady’s vagina (well it wasn’t going to be a bloke’s vagina, after all) all laid bare like a broken oyster, then we proceeded to stifle our own giggles at the ‘sperm and egg’ portion of the show. I’m a man who loves his puns see, and it was all I could do to hold back from ‘…and THIS is what it’s come to’ or suchlike. Museum fatigue set in for me before Paul, meaning my eyes had glazed over to the point where, had I not moved for a minute more, I could have passed as part of the exhibition.
Well HELLO SAILOR. See, weisswurst!
Exhibition over, we decided we both needed to say goodbye to our breakfasts, which led to the next awkward toilet encounter. Remember in my last post I complained about the fact that American toilets have that weird gap under the door and a huge crack (especially when I’m in it) between the door and the wall of the cubicle next to it, meaning every hastily taken shit is a lesson in trying desperately not to meet someone’s eye as you crimp off a loaf? Well, no sooner had we both settled down (in adjacent cubicles, we’re not that close) and preparing to drop anchor when in walks a janitor who proceeds to start mopping the floor. Fair enough, in the UK someone would have knocked on the door, waited outside and given you a filthy look as you leave and they walk into your arse-cloud, but no, this cheeky chappie starts whistling merrily and going about his business. That wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t then stuck his grimy mop under the friggin’ toilet door and sloshed it over our shoes. NOTHING makes the shutters close quicker than something like that happening, and Paul immediately whatsapped me to say ‘he couldn’t go’ and that ‘we should leave’. The janitor gave us a proper smirk as we left too. He totally knew what he was doing.
As soon as we left the Body Works museum I immediately got a nosebleed. Smashing! I have a really fragile nose and go through spells of heavy but entirely non-serious nosebleeds, and boom, here we were. Well goodness me, you’ve never seen so many tourists swerve out of someone’s way then that day, in the rain, when I came shuffling towards them with a face full of blood. N0-one offered to help, of course, so Paul dashed as fast as his swollen feet allowed him into Walgreens, where a security guard, after a LOT of persuasion, tore me off a piece of fucking parcel paper to wipe my face with. I’d have been more bloody comfortable wiping my face with a square of 1200 grit sandpaper. I muttered my thanks and sent Paul back in to try and find some tissues, only for him to disappear for ten minutes and reappear having been forced a packet of $8 aloe-fucking-vera face-wipes. Luckily, my inbuilt Geordie tight-arse came out and the outrage at having to pay so much to stop myself passing out distracted my brain from pouring my life out of my nose and we were soon sorted. I left a charming puddle of blood around the back of a donut shop, which I like to think will have confused the police for a few hours at least.
I can’t help but feel that had the janitor at the Body Works exhibition allowed me to have a dump, the pressure in my body would have settled and there would have been no nosebleed. I should have nipped back and dripped all over his urinals.
So, unexpected epistaxis aside, we made our way to M&M World, where we treated ourselves to a few bits of tat and quite possibly the most awkward photo we’ve ever had taken. I’m not posting it. A tiny lady in a massive red M&M costume came tottering out of a door to entertain the waiting children when we asked if we could have a photo. Well, I’ve never seen a costumed figure with a six foot wide smile manage to look so dejected and uncomfortable but by God, the photo doesn’t lie. It doesn’t help that Paul, in his effort to get his hands around her to make it look like he’s hugging the ‘giant M&M’, just looks like he’s trying to fingerbang her through the felt. I bet we’re on a tumblr blog somewhere with someone screaming TRIGGERED. We made a sharp exit, stopping only to buy a glass ‘Big Apple’ with chocolate M&Ms inside, which I am genuinely proud to tell you we still have and haven’t smashed open in a fit of hunger. It’s only the thought of swallowing glass that puts me off mind, rather than any sense of decency.
For reasons still unknown to both of us, we decided to visit Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (well, it was chucking it down and we didn’t want to walk far). The first believe it or not came when she charged us $65 for entry. I told her that, actually, I didn’t believe it (ho ho) but clearly she had suffered a long, miserable life of gags like that and fixed me with a stare that nearly set my nose away again. These places are what you make of them. Go in expecting a load of frippery and nonsense and you’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself. Where else can you put your head down amongst thousands of skittering cockroaches (aside from a Travelodge bed) or ‘enjoy’ medieval, ancient equipment designed to torture and maim (aside from a Travelodge bed)? We had a whale of a time until the bit at the end where you reach a ‘dizziness machine’ and have to walk along a platform whilst a curtain of paint-splattered material rotates wildly around you. Yikes. I get dizzy unscrewing the lid off a bottle of Coke, let alone having to endure a simulator of what it must be like to be Paul Gascoigne. I closed my eyes, walked through, straight into Paul who was taking a picture and sent him tumbling. Calamity Anne strikes again.
Paul’s mother dropped in to say hello (Jackie, I jest, there isn’t a smouldering Richmond Blue in her fingers nor Bejewelled 3 barely loading on a Upple Y-Pad).
Once Paul’s concussion had wore off, we wandered down to Grand Central Station, where, like the boring old farts that we are, we elected to take an audio tour. Well, what a revelation! Aside from having to wear headphones last used to guide Apollo 13 back to Earth, that is. The tour took us all around the various nooks and crannies of the station and was absolutely worth doing. There’s nothing much funny that you can write about an audio tour of a train station so let me just strongly recommend it and move on. We bought a set of metal subway signs to go above all the bedroom doors in our hallway – well, the ‘Next customer please’ sign was getting a little faded and the bulb in the red light had gone. We stopped at Starbucks (which wasn’t hard, given how many Starbucks stores there were – I half-expected to be offered a venti mocha frappucino when I went for a piss in the night. I was restrained, I have a peach iced tea, but Paul went all out for a drink that looked like someone had emptied a sheep dip into a bucket and topped it with enough whipped cream and syrup to make Mags’ buttocks clench in horror. The barista *cough* managed to misspell Paul as Pawl but it’s OK, we were able to identify his drink due to them having to move chairs and tables out of the way to bring it through.
Now I wish I could tell you we spent the rest of the day flitting from each wonderful thing to the next, but we actually did something terrible – we found a bar that served all sorts of wonderful beers and spent the rest of the day and most of the evening in there getting absolutely sozzled. We only popped in for one. Flight 151 in Chelsea, if you’re curious. It was brilliant – I’m a large fan of this ‘beer flight’ idea where you get several small beers to try on a fancy ladder. I was such a fan that I had four flights and Paul had to stop me when I made to put Conchita Wurst on the jukebox.
We spotted that they served ‘British’ beers and ordered a Newcastle Brown Ale and a Guinness each. Both seemed fine but Paul immediately made sure that we couldn’t possibly go back to that bar by checking in on Facebook on their page and saying ‘Wonderful bar but can’t pour a Guinness’. Once I spotted what he’d done, I shooed us out of the door. He’s very skilled and making friends and influencing people.
Can we talk for a moment about tipping? I find it hilariously awkward and even more so in a bar. We were sitting at the bar and every round of drinks, I was leaving two or three dollars on the bar when they passed me the change. I did try to give him a tip directly but he waved it away – odd – so the dollars just sat in the beer foam crinkling up. He eventually swept them up with a flourish and a thank you but did I miss something? I tried telling him to keep a couple of dollars back from my change but that got ignored…ah it’s so stressful. I know why people tip in America (wages for waiting staff and bar-folk are abysmal) but as a Brit, don’t put me in such a socially awkward situation! Take as much money as you like, just don’t make me cringe with the awkwardness of what to bloody do with the tip!
We staggered back a fair distance to our hotel, stopping only to stumble through the doors of a closed post office in the vain hope of finding a lavatory (nope) and fell asleep in our clothes. When we woke the next day all was well, save for the fact that at some forgotten point in the evening we had bought this:
At least we didn’t buy this, though:
An anal lubricant called Boy Butter. Haway, who is going to say that during an impassioned moment? ‘Oooo ‘eck – I’m not sure the car is going to get into the garage, throw me the friggin’ Boy Butter’…gosh.
Anyway, let’s crack on with the recipe, shall we? It’s another one of our risnottos – a risotto that you can just leave alone to cook itself rather than having to clart about adding stock and stirring.
to make sweet potato, chive and chicken risnotto, you’ll need:
- one large onion, chopped finely
- two cloves of garlic, minced (you know what’s coming: buy a ruddy mincer, save yourself the time)
- one large sweet potato
- bunch of chives
- 350g of risotto/arborio rice
- 900ml of chicken or vegetable stock
- as much leftover chicken as you want, though try and leave some for the next recipe – if you’re not making this from leftovers, just use two chicken breasts, like the good quality buggers you get loads of in our Freezer Filler deal from Musclefood!
- a good non-stick, deep pan
to make sweet potato, chive and chicken risnotto, you should:
- cube your sweet potato into 1cm cubes (I mean, no need to bust out a ruler, just approximate size), squirt with some spray oil, bit of salt, bit of pepper and put in the oven on a low heat (around 160 degrees) for thirty minutes or so, until they soften and go a bit sticky
- whilst they’re cooking, soften your onion and garlic on a medium heat until the garlic is golden
- chuck in the chicken leftovers
- throw in the rice, stir it once to get the juice of the onions and garlic on it, then add the stock
- put the lid on your pan and leave alone on a medium heat for around 18 minutes – check every minute or so towards the end to make sure it hasn’t boiled dry
- get the sweet potato cubes out of the oven and tip the into the rice – don’t worry if they stick a bit to the roasting tray, that’s good, just scrape them off and add to the mix – it’s nice to have extra textures
- chop the chives and stir them through
- serve with extra chives and some parmesan from your HEA.