cabbage rolls

First of all, today’s recipe is cabbage rolls, which couldn’t sound less appetising if they tried. Plus, I tried to take a decent photo of them, but they invariably look like something you’d see hanging off a tramp’s foot in the summer. They tasted wonderful though and, well, it’s something different! And here, it’s a Romanian recipe so that gives us an excuse to dust off the old flagmaker, rattle off this banner and declare twochubbycubs’ European Tour back on. OK so it may not be weekly but we’re only two men.


But first, today. We’re mulling over whether or not to move house. I know, the people in the street would be bereft not seeing my knob hanging out of the front of my boxers as I absent-mindedly put the bins out on a Monday, but since we had some strange lads in our back passage a few days ago (not invited through Grindr, either, unusually) it’s made us a bit unsettled. We don’t think they were trying to break in, because there was an open window into our bedroom (though admittedly the flashing neon red light was turned off at the time) and they didn’t do anything…but still. It makes you feel uneasy. Though saying that, had they climbed in through the bedroom window, they would have fallen onto our bed – and all I’m saying is I wouldn’t have needed Tony Martin’s shotgun to make them bleed from behind. The little smackrats. This is a nice part of the world!

So yes, we bundled into the car and decided to go have a look at some of the new estates that are being build, and to take the opportunity to view the showhomes. Well, they were awful. It didn’t help that the chap on the front desk took one look at us – physically looked us up and down, mind you, taking in our dog-walking trainers, shaved heads and George jeans – and clearly decided we were there to steal the copper wiring and good silver. His opening gambit was that ‘these houses are very difficult to get’ and that we’d need excellent credit to get an appropriate mortgage. The cheeky, oily little oik – we own our house outright with no mortgage and I’ve got better credit than the Queen. Paul hasn’t, because he bought a stereo from Kays catalogue on tick and then forgot all about it over ten years ago, but there you go. Always trust a Geordie with money. We spent ten minutes looking around and then left with a disdainful look at Captain Acne behind the desk and told him it was far too small and there were altogether too many Audis on the estate.

We didn’t manage to leave quietly though as I managed to back the car over a child’s football that had been discarded in the middle of the road, resulting in an surprisingly loud bang echoing around the estate which probably sounded like the car backfiring, which I suppose didn’t help our image. We trundled over to The Parents and spent half an hour oohing and aahing at how well my nephew is coming along (I make him sound like a tomato plant) – without so much as a cup of tea mind, mother – and the highlight of that being when he pointed at Paul and called him Uncle Fatty. The kid has style!

After my parents came IKEA, and good lord IKEA is stressful at the best of times but even more so when you’re breaking the rules and going anti-clockwise with seemingly all of Gateshead’s unwashed masses bearing down on you, it’s hell on Earth. Especially because when the weather is warm enough not to leave an icicle on your tit, everyone decides to throw on a scraggy t-shirt exposing their Neapolitan-ice-cream skin to the sun – blistered red from being out under a SKOL umbrella all afternoon, yellow from nicotine and jaundice, streaky brown wherever the Poundstretcher Fake-Bake took hold. 

And the stopping! I know everyone needs a moment to sniff their eighty-dozen orange-scented KLIT tea-lights but for goodness sake, do it to the side. I genuinely think there should be two lanes in places like this – one of those who can glide with purpose and one for those dolts who walk like they have a ball-bearing stuck in their socks. I’m being glib, I appreciate that people have disabilities and of course, they’re exempt, but if you can’t move quickly simply because you’re too much of a clot to remember to put one foot in front of the other in a reasonably rhythmic pattern, then just do everyone a favour and stay at home and have someone else pick up your ÖRGI bookshelf. Bastards. I didn’t even get a bloody hot-dog at the end because I couldn’t bear the thought of having my face stripped by someone’s eye-watering B.O for ten minutes in the queue whilst I had nothing to do than count the skin tags on their neck.

Hark listen to me, you’d think I was Adonis. But Paul says I am, so there.

Costco next – and if you think IKEA is bad, then Costco is even worse. Here the aforementioned numpties are armed with a trolley big enough to fit a hot-tub and enough baked beans to keep a Toby Carvery going for a financial quarter. Oh and it gets worse – it was bloody tasting day, which meant crowds of people all pushing and pulling at one another with their 4×4 trolleys in a nugatory attempt to get their cracked hands on a postage stamp of lasagne or a bit of brioche you could start a fire with. We bought our usual forty tins of tomato puree, sack of pasta and catering jar of gherkins, which were crashed through the till by the cashier with all the care and panache you’d expect from someone who had tattooed her eyelashes on, and we were on our way to the final test – Tesco at 3.40pm on a Sunday afternoon.

Which, remarkably, was a fairly sedate experience, despite me shrieking at Paul ‘STOP PLAYING WITH YOURSELF THERE ARE KIDS ABOUT’ when he was adjusting his belt in the reductions aisle. I’m surprised he had room, the usual ballaches were waiting to tackle the poor Tesco lackey to the floor for their 35p breadbuns. I genuinely can’t stand greed of this sort – but I’ve rambled on about these shitgibbons before who fill their trolley because they can, not because they need to. Nobody needs fifteen discount cauliflowers at 4pm on a Sunday. Take one, and fuck off.

So that was today. Goodness me.

Today’s recipe then: cabbage rolls!


to make cabbage rolls you will need:

1 medium white cabbage, 160g cooked rice, 1 egg (beaten), 60ml skimmed milk, half an onion (chopped), 500g pork mince, ½ tsp pepper, 4 cloves of garlic, 500ml passata, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ½ tsp black pepper, a good dollop of sauerkraut (optional but delicious but by gaw it’ll make your bum windy)

to make cabbage rolls you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (gas mark 4)
  • remove the core from the head of the cabbage
  • boil the whole head of cabbage for ten minutes
  • drain the cabbage and leave to cool
  • in a large bowl mix together the cooked rice, mince egg, milk, chopped onion, crushed garlic and pepper
  • peel away 12 or so leaves from the cabbage – they need to be a good size but the smaller ones will still be okay, just use less for the next step. Shake off any excess water, nobody loves a moist cabbage
  • scoop roughly two-tablespoons worth of the mince and rice mixture and plop into the centre of a cabbage leaf
  • fold the bottom ends up and the sides to make a small parcel
  • place roll seam-side down into a baking dish that has been sprayed with a little FryLight if you’re a tasteless buffoon or a drop of oil if you’re sensible
  • in a separate bowl mix together the passata, tinned tomatoes, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the cabbage rolls
  • cover the dish with tin foil and bake for an hour
  • serve with anything you like, but we had new potatoes because they were the easiest thing to grab