I did something this morning that I’m ashamed of. Normally guilt and having a conscience are two conjectural instincts that I absolutely lack – I’ll cheerfully take the last Rolo from the tube even if you don’t love me, I’ll gaily laugh as I push children out of the way so I can play in the ballpark at IKEA and I’d have no compunction at all about aggressively smothering to death the masses of elderly folk who get between me and my Marks and Spencer’s beetroot wrap of a lunchtime. I’m kidding I’m kidding – I’d tumble them into the deep freezers instead, much more humane. But, nevertheless, I’m ashamed.
See, I had to get a bus. I know, I’m not proud. What have I become? It’s not like my last attempt at taking the bus was anything to write home about (so I wrote a big old blog entry instead, see?) so what possessed me to try again?
The bloody weather. Or, perhaps more precisely, all the bloody reports about the ‘thundersnow’ and ‘Arctic blasts’ and ‘dangerous weather’. It all sounded terribly exciting and cataclysmic and it was with baited breath that I threw back the curtains this morning only to be greeted with a lovely winter scene of snow and frost. Remembering last year’s morning of tramping into Newcastle on foot because I was stuck behind an entire city of dickheads unable to grasp that if you try to pull away in first gear on a slope on your summer tyres you’ll get nowhere fast, I chose to get the bus in.
Well fuck me, it hasn’t improved a jot. I boarded at 7.20am, expecting the bus to be quiet and full of slumbering worker-bees like me who would spend the short twenty minute journey bobbing their heads in half-sleep and drooling extravagantly on my shoulder. That would have been welcome; cosy almost. What actually happened was that the entire journey took exactly two hours and I was stuck between two very Greggnant folks – presumably man and wife – who talked across and over me for having the temerity to sit between them. Mind, at least I was warm – I felt like a strawberry in a giant trifle, only this trifle smelled of fags and foist. I made to open a window but was met with such a harsh, unforgiving stare from that I went back to staring right ahead with furious, twitching eyes. The two hours was punctuated by the boom-tissh-boom-tissh of shit music played through shit headphones into a shit man’s ears, what joy. The only melody that gets played in my car is when the indicators match-up with the the little ‘ding ding’ I get when the diesel is low. That and Radio 4, and I’m even going to knock that on the head if Helen Archer doesn’t stop giving into Rob. Tsk.
I can’t blame the bus driver – he did his best, but, despite the roads being clear of snow and ice, every person and his dog had decided to come for a drive early ‘just in case’. This meant absolute bumper-to-bumper gridlock. Of course, everyone starts beeping, as though everyone ahead of them is only sitting there because they’ve dozed off and will subsequently be able to miraculously drive through the traffic now they’ve been awoken by your beep signal like the fucking Manchurian Candidate. You see cars on the news pitched into ditches and crashed through living room walls as though we’re crossing the Arctic as opposed to doing 10mph pulling out of a cul-de-sac and I just DON’T BLOODY UNDERSTAND IT. It’s snow! Half an inch of frigging snow! Why can’t people cope? Why must we fall to our knees and cry and wail because the paths are a bit slippy for all of ten minutes and the gritter hasn’t been round? For fucks sake.
I don’t want to bring it back to other countries but take Iceland – when we visited it was -1,000,000 degrees (near enough) and yet everything ran like clockwork. Our coach hurtled along roads that were literally ice with all the gay abandon of a man who only sees four hours of daylight a day. Public transport turned up, people walked along well-gritted paths and everything looked lovely. Switzerland was exactly the same – cold enough to not only take your breath away but also to make a Mr Slushy with, but ne’ry a problem at all. And us? If we do eventually get to work we spend all day starting every conversation with ‘it isn’t going to lie’ or ‘it’ll be gone by lunchtime’.
Oh, and how true that is – I swear a friend of mine lit a cigarette at lunch and the flame from her lighter cleared the snow right across Newcastle, it was that much of a bloody non-event.
I do sympathise with the folks experiencing proper disastrous weather elsewhere in the UK, though. Best of luck to you all.
There was some good news today, though – The Crystal Maze is returning! Properly, mind, with a full set (so we don’t have to watch people pretending that the smoke detectors and building alarm panels are part of the Aztec zone) and with non-celebrities playing. I know it’s the dram of many to watch Bianca Gascoigne mouth-breathe her way around solving a basic word riddle in three minutes but that’s just not happening. Hooray! However: the new presenter is Richard Ayoade. I can’t put into words how desperately unfunny I find him. I can see why people like him, and I’m sure he’s a charming bloke in real-life, but I think I’d genuinely prefer to watch the zip of a body-bag being pulled across my face than witness his shenanigans. Bah.
However look, there’s a cracking recipe to be had underneath – big mac tater tots. It combines the various bits and bobs from SW favourite Big Mac in a Bowl (which, if you give it a couple of hours, becomes Big Mass in a Bowel) and mixes it with our most favourite recipe, the tater tots! Give it a go. It’s easy to make.
to make big mac tater tots you will need:
- 900g potato, cut into small cubes
- 400g lean minced beef (the mince you get in our Musclefood deal is perfect!)
- 160g reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated (4x HeA)
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- ½ iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- handful of gherkin slices
for the special sauce:
- 3 level tbsp extra-light mayo (3 syns)
- 5 tbsp fat free fromage frais
- 1 level tbsp of American style mustard (1½ syns)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2tsp white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp of garlic salt
- ¼ tsp onion granules
- pinch of smoked paprika
It’s worth noting that you can douse the entire recipe in hot sauce, although you should syn this. We get asked a lot what hot sauce is and which we use. It’s just a spicy red sauce you can buy in most big supermarkets, and it adds a lovely heat. To help, this is the sauce we use.
to make big mac tater tots you should:
- if you have an actifry this is great – chuck the potato in, add a bit of oil and cook until golden
- if you don’t have an actifry, spread the potato cubes out onto a baking sheet and bake at 190°c until golden – turn them regularly!
- preheat the oven to 230°c
- meanwhile, over a medium-high heat sling the mince into the pan and cook until done, then remove from the heat
- in a large bowl mix together the tater tots and the mince together and tip back into an oven-proof dish or pan
- sprinkle over the grated cheese and pop in the oven for about five minutes, or until the cheese has melted
- next, mix together the special sauce ingredients along with 5tbsp of water (add more if you need to)
- when the cheese has melted, remove from the oven and sprinkle over the lettuce, onion, then tomatoes and then add the gherkins
- splodge over the sauce
- destroy it – turn it into poo!
Our Tater Tots recipes are by far our most popular! If you want to find out why, give them a go!
or if you want more fakeaway ideas, just click the button below! And while you’re at it why not explore our other recipes! they’re all waiting for you!