taster night fruit skewers

Taster night – yes, we hate them too. We do have loads of taster night ideas though right here, but here’s a new one – taster night fruit skewers! Doesn’t really need a recipe but even so, I’ve done one at the bottom. But first…

…here’s a minty-fresh Switzerland entry! Part five if you don’t mind.

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part one | part two | part three | part four

Now, the last time you nestled into my busom and let me tell you a Swiss story we were just disembarking from the train in Bern. I was giddy with superlatives and the clean mountain air. We enjoyed an evening out and explored the town and I’ll touch on that later but first, despite having just arrived, we were already planning to leave. GASP. If that doesn’t get you sticking to your chair, what will?

So, yes, the night before, somewhat shitfaced on gin and schnapps, we had rashly decided to hire a car and go see some nearby Swiss features. A company called Sixt took our money and booking only to then call us at 11pm to say that actually they couldn’t hire us a car after all. My reply was probably something like wellfuguthendon’twanyercaranywaaay, as I remind you I was drunk, and we managed to sort something out with Enterprise. Hence, a few hours later, after a quick tram ride into the ghettos (as if Swiss cities have bloody ghettos – even the graffiti says ‘FUCK THE COPS, PLEASE’) we were outside the Enterprise offices waiting for the effortlessly efficient Celine to finish putting her hair in plaits and open the door. We made the class awkward small-talk and were shown to our car – a very boring Peugeot 208. I almost asked if they had anything more exciting but realised that would encompass every single mode of transport ever invented. It’s not that it was a bad car, no, it was just…so…plain. It was the motoring equivalent of having a disinterested vicar read you the warranty conditions of your new kettle.

We set off, very gingerly. Actually, that’s a fib, it took us about ten minutes to figure out how to disengage the handbrake. Every button I pressed seem to do something I didn’t want (and I’d later discover I’d accidentally set the seat-warmers to maximum – I only realised when I pulled over absolutely sure I’d shit myself). Paul fiddled with the Sat-Nav. You may recollect from previous entries that I have an inherent distrust of Sat-Navs whereas Paul clings to every word like a drowning man would clutch a lifebelt. The Sat-Nav is never wrong. It could instruct him to plunge a knife into my chest then take the third exit and he’d have the cutlery drawer open before you could say Skynet.

I’d checked online previously and the motorway that we needed was a mere half mile and two junctions away – I thought that once I was on that we’d be grand – driving on a motorway is an easy way to get used to a car, unless you’re Henri Paul. Paul plugged the address for the cheese factory in and we were away, guided by the disembodied voice of Teresa May. I’m not even exaggerating – it was as though the liver-lipped old trout was in the car with us, barking orders and shrieking instructions. It was terrifying: take the second Brexit, indeed.

Anyway, I immediately noticed something was wrong when we ended up following a tram down the tram lines. That’s generally a bad sign. Nevertheless, buoyed by Paul’s strict instruction that the Sat-Nav is always right and ‘you always panic driving in cities‘, we ploughed on.

For an arresting moment we found ourselves trundling through a Christmas market in the car – I could have reached out and grabbed myself a hot chocolate as we drove past to calm my nerves – before the Sat-Nav sent us down a tiny cobbled street. Clearly, something was amiss, but Paul was having none of it. We pootled on for another half an hour on possibly the most scenic city centre tour you’ve ever seen outside of one of those lurid double-decker scenic busses before I finally pulled us over in someone’s garden and told Paul to check the settings on the Sat-Nav. Yep: he had it set to ‘avoid major roads’, which, as you can imagine, adds an extra layer of fun and frolics onto driving an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar city, on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car, in ice and heavy fog. Oh how I laughed as I spun the car wheels on the icy grass before we made our way back to the motorway. You could see the car-rental place from the sliproad of the motorway as we joined.

Ah well. You live and learn. Once we were on the open road we were straight up to 75mph (their speed limit) despite the freezing fog. Why? Because everything just works perfectly. There wasn’t a flake of ice on the road, there wasn’t a ten mile tailback of beeping cars and lorries, no, everyone just sped along in uniform civility. It was lovely. It puts us to shame, it truly does. I know we’re not an alpine country and thus people aren’t used to driving in wintry conditions but for goodness sake, they shut the A1 in both directions if I leave my freezer door open too long. Pah.

One thing we learnt about the Swiss as we drove along their motorways: they fucking love getting their cocks out in the motorway toilets, and I don’t mean for a piss. I don’t like to be crass but for goodness sake, let me have a piss in peace without helicoptering your penis at me or wanking away like you’re beating out a carpet fire. I half-expected to be arrested for suspicious behaviour because I wasn’t cottaging. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude, and if the smell of twenty years of splashed urine and 10,000 lorry driver farts gets the blood pumping for you then all the very best, but please, try and be a bit more discreet.

Anyway, we left after five hours – just enough time for the ammonia on the floor to burn through my jeans at the knees.

As we drove towards Gruyère the fog seemed to melt away and Switzerland opened up for us – it was magical. Everything was frozen but, especially when bathed in the brilliant light of the winter sun, it shone. I wanted to walk in every forest, ratch down every street – and that’s really saying something when you consider what a fat fucker I am. You’d barely get a chance to admire the views of an ice-covered river when a hill would rear up and you’d get a load of chocolate-box cottages all glistening in the cold. I felt like I was in a chewing gum advert. Paul developed RSI from having to snap his neck this way and that as I exclaimed ‘oooh look at that‘ and ‘cor have you seen that mountain?‘ – luckily, we weren’t short of ice to put on it. To give you an idea of the beauty:

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We made it to our first destination, La Maison du Gruyère, in good time indeed. Now, as you might have guessed from the name, this was a factory manufacturing ball bearings. Well obviously not – it was a cheese factory. I love cheese, and I love GruyèreI will cheerfully admit to having a semi as I climbed out of the car. I know visiting a Swiss cheese factory whilst in Switzerland is as obvious as visiting the Eiffel Tower whilst in Paris or being happy-slapped for your mobile in Hull, but I don’t care. We paid the very modest entry fee and were given quite the phallic-looking handset that would translate the entire thing for us so it sounded like Paul’s sister patronising us the whole way around. It was quite distressing. However, what made up for that was the fact you’re given a packet of cheese as you enter. My kind of museum!

The displays were informative – the right mix of cutesy-poo (meet Cherry The Cow!) and blistering factory facts to keep you going. Don’t get me wrong, don’t plan a holiday around it as we were done in half an hour, but as cheese factories go, it was great. I say this from the perspective of someone who has a cheese factory you can tour a mere ten miles from my house. I know, truly my life is decadent. There’s a comedy picture of me biting into a cheese wheel that’s only just wider than Paul’s waist but as my chins are cascading down my coat like a melted church candle, I shan’t be posting it. We stopped into the well-appointed gift shop in the hope of buying me a hat but were thwarted yet again by my giant elephantine head. I don’t understand it, you know – I look in the mirror and see a normal sized head but I can’t get a single hat to fit me without being skintight and giving me a permanently startled look. I’d kill to be able to wear a tricorn hat with panache, like Inspector Javert. More like Fatbear, am I right? Sigh.

We did toy with having a tour around Gruyère but we had a lot to do and we had to return the car at 6pm, so culture was pushed to one side.

Next stop on our Car Trip of Cardiovascular Strain was a trip to a chocolate factory, which frankly, is like following up a large scratchcard win with a fantastic blowjob. I mean, it doesn’t get better than the words ‘unlimited samples of Swiss chocolate’, does it? At this point I had to push my car seat back a good few inches, and it wasn’t just my belly that was swelling. Cor! Turns out that the Maison Cailler was about a twenty minute drive down the road so off we went. Roadworks diverted us into an aerodrome which made for a startling moment or two as tiny planes beetled about around us but we were soon back on our way and, after navigating a proper hairpin bend on a very steep hill (what fun!) we were parked up and joined the queue for entry.

Well, whilst I hate to repeat myself, this was smashing too. Entry costs were minimal but the whole experience was well thought-out, interesting and interactive. We joined a group of six very obviously gay men (no need to peacock though, there were lots of knowing looks and laughter) (and actually, that would explain our eight blank faces when we got to the Frigor bit) (Frigor? Why I barely know her!) and were shown to the entrance. What followed was a good thirty minute walk around showing the history of chocolate, how it is made, the health benefits…I tried to look as interested as possible but what we all wanted to know was when were the free samples coming and would I be told off for bringing a suitcase? We rounded a corner and there it was – all sorts of different chocolates just out for the tasting.

Naturally, being British, we showed remarkable restraint, nibbling and coyly picking up just-one-more in case they decided we were obscene and shut the door. Hilariously though, there was this big gym-bunny of a man there with his girlfriend. Now, he was not that nice, toned gym-boy that you see around but rather he looked like a bin-liner stuffed with rugby balls. His Littlewoods crop-top positively strained over Wotsit coloured muscles and I’m sorry but he had the haunted look of someone who knows that he’ll be injecting steroids into his cock later that day. ANYWAY. When he saw eight burly men come mincing barrelling around the corner he immediately started puffing out his chest and strutting around like Barry Big Bollocks. You know what I mean?? That thing blokes do when they try and make themselves look hard and important? Pffft. Top tip mate: no-one was impressed, you were trying to intimidate eight gay blokes who each had a better spread of facial hair than you and it’s impossible to look macho when you’re standing in a chocolate factory shovelling dainty wee raspberry truffles into your gob with your giant shovel hands, you absolute fucking melt.

His girlfriend had the good grace to look embarrassed.

We all tittered and laughed at the little machine that pooed out the chocolates (no other word for it) and then Paul and I added our own bit of humour onto their massive interactive computer board which asked the question ‘When should you enjoy chocolate?’

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That’ll be us off the magazine list, again. Ah well. At least our effort was better than Baba Babayev’s on the right there though – what a kiss-arse. Bet that wasn’t just cocoa on her lips.

Next stop on our whistlestop tour of Things That Sounded Good When Pissed was the town of Montreux, a mere forty minutes or so away. Now we absolutely didn’t have time to tour the town and do it justice so we decided to visit the absolutely stunning Château de Chillon, down on the shoreline of Lake Geneva instead.

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The castle was the inspiration for the castle in The Little Mermaid, which is a handy link as Paul models himself on The Little Mermaid’s villain, Ursula. We were so lucky – perhaps because it was Christmas or because it was overcast I don’t know, but we almost had the place to ourselves.

This was very fortuitous indeed. Why? Because the castle – whilst breathtakingly pretty and wonderfully kept – is a series of staircases, ladders and steep climbs to get right to the very top. With both of us busy turning eight kilos of chocolate and cheese into poo and heart disease, this was perhaps not a good idea. The fact we were by ourselves was most welcome as it meant we weren’t pressured into climbing at anyone else’s pace and we were able to stop and catch our breath, shock our hearts and discreetly vomit into nearby suits of armour. Any passing staff must have thought we found the info-boards particularly absorbing (and, to be fair, they were) but actually, it was just us bent double trying to resaturate our blood with oxygen.

taster night fruit skewers

You know what made the place great, though? It took us a while to twig and then we realised – there wasn’t masses of taped-off areas and warning signs to mind your head and stop smoking and don’t run and don’t use flash photography. We weren’t being told off at every opportunity and it was most refreshing, even if I did curse loudly when the top of my head scrapped along the ceiling. Oh and I did fall down a pretty much vertical flight of stairs when I started can-can-ing my legs as I came down, which in turn made Paul exclaim that I ‘looked like the Phantom of the Opera, only more a fat c*nt’ (we had the place to ourselves, I remind you), which then made me laugh and lose my footing. I landed on my giant gelatinous arse and was fine, don’t worry. Silly Swiss: I might recommend a warning sign for ‘acts of theatricality’. We made sure to take plenty of photos to add onto our iCloud to never be seen again and then made our way out.

There was a photo opportunity as we left with a little pier that strutted right out into the lake and we made for it only to be rudely pushed out of the way by what I think were the same horde of tourists that had prevented us getting a decent picture at the Broken Chair a few entries back.  First they would each take a picture of one of them standing on the pier, then they’d swap, then they’d change the lens, then they’d shriek hysterically and change the lens again. We waited patiently for a good fifteen minutes before (conscious of the fact I’d parked the hire car in a place I wasn’t entirely unconvinced wasn’t a coach park) I invaded their photographs and walked right along that pier. It made for a good set of photos – me posing merrily with my little Swiss flag, eighteen disgruntled and sullen faces just moving out of shot. Pfft. I’d post the picture but the rage-blood seeping from my eyes somewhat ruins it.

We bought some chocolate from the gift-shop and made our way back to the car. At this point I was very tired so Paul was under strict instruction to keep talking to me and not to let me fall asleep. Naturally, he was asleep before I turned the indicators off to get out of the car park. It was a long drive home – I had to keep stopping at the rest areas to have a man-made protein shake rest. We were less than half a mile away from the car drop-off area, all ready to head back to the hotel, when the stupid Sat-Nav suddenly thought we were in entirely the wrong place and set us down a slip road onto a different motorway, adding an extra 30 miles onto our trip. I hate them. I really bloody hate them. My loud swearing woke Paul up whose first words were ‘you should have woke me up’ which, as you can imagine, really made me chuckle. I could have undid his seatbelt, opened his car door and sent him tumbling out onto the motorway at 75mph and he’d still be fast asleep, doing tiny little cheesy farts all the night long. BAH.

By the time we did make it back to our room it was all we could do to remove the tiny Toblerone they placed on our pillows before falling fast asleep. All that mountain air, see. I promise to talk to you about Bern on the next entry, it really was a terrific place, but look, we’re almost at 3,000 words and I’m just sure that means most of you will have buggered off by now. If so, shame on you, least not because you’ve missed out on the recipe for these taster night fruit skewers!

taster night fruit skewers

to make taster night fruit skewers, you’ll need – well, duh:

  • a couple of tangerines
  • a box of raspberries
  • a few kiwi fruits
  • a fresh pineapple
  • black grapes, black as your soul
  • cocktail sticks – ours aren’t anything fancy, we bought them for the burgers we do, you get 100 on Amazon for about a fiver, or you could use any old shite you have sitting around the house, no need to fret!

to make taster night fruit skewers, you should:

  • now come on, really
  • no, really?
  • OK, well, assemble as above
  • I cored the pineapple, cut it into rings and then into chunks, but you can buy chunks in juice, remember to syn it though
  • I made the kiwi stars by cutting thick slices of kiwi and then, wait for it, using a star shaped pastry cutter – I know, someone call Alfred Nobel, because we’ve got a bloody genius here
  • that’s it

Two things to remember:

  • Captain Gunt suggests that you could serve this with a melted Freddo bar or something to dip in – but seriously, come on, just eat your Freddo; and
  • not a fan of the fruits above? Well, you’re homophobic and I’ll thank you not to read this blog. Oh THOSE fruits, right right – no, just swap them out for anything you like, I don’t mind, I just like the pretty colours!

Want more taster night ideas? Love picking other people’s cat hair out of your teeth whilst you choke down a sliver of cottage cheese quiche? Then click the buttons below and be inspired!

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Goodnight all!

J

sticky apricot chicken skewers

Here for the sticky apricot chicken skewers? Scroll on down, because first…

’tis a lovely day. Now see, whenever Saturday comes around, I always think we should fill it with fun activities and marvellous days out because within the blink of an eye it’ll be Monday again and I’ll be sick of my life. There’s only so much enthusiasm one can fake for getting into a car and looking at the back of some cockknocker in an Audi for forty five minutes on a Monday morning. But invariably it’ll get to noon, Paul will peel himself out of the soggy patch, make the bacon sandwiches and we’ll spend two hours farting about doing fuck all. Then really it’s getting on for being too late to go out and make a day of it, so instead we end up watching X-Files and turning pale from the lack of sunlight. In my defence, I was going to spend the day weeding the flower-beds but one of the litters of flimflam up the street are having a BBQ and I can’t concentrate for the smell of Iceland sausages not being cooked correctly and the tinny sound of Now That’s What I Call Inevitable Domestic Violence playing over cheap speakers. I stepped outside to hang out some shirts and someone was loudly discussing Crocs as if they were anything other than fit for a bonfire so I came straight back in. Pfft.

I suppose I could entertain myself by watching the football but really, no. I can’t see the appeal. I see grown men crying (possibly because of the tear gas) on the television and feel nothing but cold embarrassment. I’m not afraid to show my emotions but I can’t leak over someone not kicking something else into a football net. I don’t feel national pride stirring when Rooney lumbers out looking like someone shaved Susan Boyle and spun her through Sports Direct and it annoys me more than avocado being synned that none of the players sing the national anthem properly, instead choosing to mouth the approximate sounds and keep their heads buried into their dandruff-free shoulders. I come from Newcastle, a city known for its enthusiastic football supporters, but I confess the only reason I own a football shirt is because my ex used to like using it for role play. I still don’t know who Jimmy Five Bellies is.

And it’s not as if many people haven’t tried to get me into football. My parents used to have loads of people around to watch the matches back in the day when Newcastle United were half-decent. I used to watch every other match that I could but it wasn’t out of interest or passion, oh no, it was more for the opportunity to try name-brand buffet food – Pringles instead of Stackers and Diet Coke instead of Påpsi Mild. The luxury! This was when football would be faintly interesting, too – when Newcastle beat Manchester United 5-1 or when Kevin Keegan was blowing spittle into the camera on Sky Sports. I could name you more players from 1996-1999 than I could modern day footballers, but I suppose that’s because you rarely see their faces given they’re always rolling around on the grass clutching their ankles.

Darren Peacock used to have a lovely home in the village that I grew up in, and he’ll remain my favourite player ever simply by virtue of giving us all a tin of Quality Street each for Hallowe’en – and this was before the tin was the size of an engagement ring box. I’ve met Alan Shearer twice in my career and each time he’s been nothing short of an arse – entitled, self-aggrandising and absolutely in love with himself. Honestly, if you’re going to pick a Geordie to make you wet, don’t make it him with his baldy heed and face that looks like he’s always trying to remember if he’s switched the iron off. I appreciate that there aren’t many other Geordies to choose from that’ll make your Birth Cannon tingle. Jimmy Nail looks like a donkey being told bad news. Robson Green is 2ft tall and apparently suffers from the same arse-ache as Shearer. Sting would be too busy cooing at his own reflection to satisfy you and well, you can’t have Ant without Dec.

We did give the world Charlie Hunnam though, so you can thank us later for that. Speaking of thanking us for a slab of tasty meat, you’ll be grateful for our recommendation once you’ve tried our sticky apricot chick skewers. Served with rice and a HEB pitta, they make a perfect summer dinner.

sticky apricot chicken skewers

to make sticky apricot chicken skewers you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, diced
  • 4 peppers, cut into big chunks

You get about 24/26 chicken breasts, along with extra lean mince, lean bacon and beef chunks, in our fabulous Freezer Filler! Treat yourself – and us via commission – right now!

for the marinade

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper

for the sauce

  • 8 tbsp no added sugar apricot jam (12 syns)
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 6 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar

I know I bang on about this all the time, but if you haven’t already, buy yourself a microplane grater. It’ll mince your garlic and ginger in no time at all, and it’s less than a tenner. Easy! Click here for our recommended mincer.

to make sticky apricot chicken skewers you should:

  • place the diced chicken in a freezer bag, sprinkle in all the marinade ingredients, shake, and leave for at least two hours if possible (overnight is best)
  • when ready to cook, add all of the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and heat over a medium-low heat
  • stir until well blended and keep over a low heat
  • thread the chicken and peppers onto the skewers – you should have enough for eight
  • cook the chicken under a hot grill, turning after about 3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked
  • remove the skewers from the grill and spoon the sauce over the skewers
  • put them back under the grill for a minute or two just to make the sauce sticky
  • serve with your rice and pitta – easy!

How easy was that? Want more chicken or takeaway recipes? Click the links below!

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Done!

J