7777 week day five: cottage pie

It’s going to have to be a quick post tonight because we’re having computer problems and like pick-a-name-of-a-celebrity-famous-in-the-Eighties we’re having to format the hard drive. And reinstall Windows, of course. So that’s a fun evening.

We decided, after we got out of bed at an unseemly hour this afternoon that we would have a ‘trip out in the car’. That’s a sign we’re both getting old, not least because the three places we considered were a) a garden centre b) an outlet shopping centre and c) a castle. I fear we’re rapidly becoming one of those couples who drive to the seaside and then sit inside the car eating egg sandwiches before driving home again, the bitter resentment of each other thick in the air. I don’t understand that – there was an old couple yesterday who had driven to the same beach we were geocaching at, only to park their Nissan Incontinent facing away from the beach and then proceeded to eat their sandwiches. Surely you’d want something interesting to look at – I can’t imagine the ‘Pick Up Dog Shit’ posters were that enthralling. Perhaps they were enjoying the spectacle of two fat blokes bustling around in the undergrowth looking for a lunchbox with an ASDA smart-price notepad and an IKEA pencil in it. Who knows. Frankly, a trip out to the beach isn’t a success for me unless I’m still picking sand out from under my helmet four days later.

There’s an image, I hope no-one was eating mackerel.

Anyway, we decided to go to the Royal Quays Outlet Centre purely because there’s a Le Creuset outlet there and I wanted a salt-pig. Listen, I know my rock-and-roll lifestyle is getting too much, but please try to keep up. This meant a trip through the Tyne Tunnel where I immediately managed to cock everything up by missing the tiny basket for the toll as I drove through, leading to 50p rolling under the car. Now, I’m an exceptionally tight person, but even I didn’t think to get out of the car and retrieve it – I just made Paul find another one amongst the detritus in our ashtray and we were on our way. However, the driver of the car behind was almost out of his car and on the hunt for the pound coin no sooner had I pulled away. I was aghast – I mean, I’m stingy, but for goodness sake, he hurtled out of his car door like Usain Bolt looking for my 50p. I slowed down because I was trying to sync my phone with the radio and he hurtled past us at the entrance, pretty much cutting us up, so we spent the tunnel journey mouthing mean words at him – Paul mouthing TIGHT and me mouthing BASTARD in perfect unison. I hope he felt thoroughly ashamed – he was driving a BMW though so I very much doubt he had any sense of shame. Or pity. Or driving ability. Nobber.

However, catastrophe struck when we got to Royal Quays – the Le Creuset shop has gone! Where else will I buy my beautiful but overpriced kitchen ornaments now? The ladies on the checkout, who clearly saw our shaved heads and dirty shoes and assumed we were there to rob the place (though you’d be pretty hard-pushed to make a quick getaway with a bloody cast-iron casserole pot jammed down your boxers), always treated us with incredible disdain. But the deals were good so we kept going back. Alas, it is no more. We checked the information board and Paul suggested that we could get something nice from Collectibles. Well really. I’d sooner shit in my hands and start clapping than trawl through the tat in there. Not saying you can’t get nice stuff, but when your window display is a pyramid of Nicer Dicer boxes then we’re not going to get along. We left in a huff, didn’t even bother going to Cotton Traders to pick up a marquee-sized flannel shirt. Our wardrobe is almost exclusively flannel shirts in varying pairs of colours – it looks like a test-card when you slide the door across. Anyway, crikey, I said I wasn’t going to waffle…


sausage spicy eggs

Sausage egg bhurji

Because we er…slept in until past noon, we had to cobble together a breakfast pretty fast, so we actually took one of our recipes and jazzed it up a little. That’s right! We’re at full jazz!

Full jazz? But that’s impossible! They’re on instruments!

Yeah. Egg bhurji! It’s delicous. Scrambled eggs but with spice and flavour. Click here for the recipe (it’ll open in a new window) but note the addition before. We had four leftover sausages from when we made that coffin of meat on Monday, so when the onions (S), peppers (S) and peas were softening, we threw the sausagemeat in with them and cooked it through before adding the eggs. Served on a couple of slices of wholemeal toast, it was a delicious start to the day, although the resulting flatulence was terrifying. I didn’t dare put the indicator on when I was going through the Tyne Tunnel lest the car blew up – it would have been like that shite Sylvester Stallone disaster movie, Daylight.


CONFESSION TIME. Because we were so lazy and didn’t get out of bed until after 12, we didn’t bother with lunch – the breakfast served as our lunch. Isn’t that awful? I did have half a Twirl in the car and it was delicious.



Peaches and mint

It’s really quite hard to make facetious comments about bloody water day in day out, so let’s skip to the good bit:

  • peaches – good for the eyes, which is important to us because we’ll need you to keep reading; and
  • mint – perfect if you’re the type of person who uses your breath as a weapon.

Actually, let me drive this point home – these ‘detox waters’ are a load of unscientific nonsense BUT, if you like flavoured waters and you’re often buying bottles of that Volvic ‘A Touch of Fruit’ stuff, make some of this instead and save the syns. ‘A touch of fruit’ doesn’t mean they’ve wafted a strawberry over your bottled water, it’ll just be a load of fragrance and sugar to make it taste sweet. Make your own and never look back.


giant dog walking

I wish that this picture better conveyed the sheer size of this dog. I felt like I was walking a cow, albeit a cow that sounded like a steam engine as it chugged along. I’ve often mentioned that Paul and I like to help out at a local animal shelter and when we went today, we were given this gorgeous dog – Bear, a Caucasian Shepherd dog – only 11 months old and weighing in at over 8 stone. He’ll continue to grow until he’s three years old and he was already up to Paul’s waist.

He was utterly, utterly gorgeous – soft as clarts, hairier than the hairiest of my two arse cheeks and incredibly strong. He was on his fourth walk of the day, the poor bugger. Some silly bugger bought him and then dumped him when they realised they’d need to fit a rolling garage door rather than a dog-flap. We were walked by him for over four miles and he kept stopping to have his ears scratched and to look adorable. I can’t deny – we were on the verge of hiring a transit van and taking him home, although he’d probably consider both of our cats as nothing more than mere fortune cookies at the end of a big meal. I was dreading him having a shit – I only had a Morrisons carrier bag that they’d hastily given me, whereas going on the size of him I think I’d have been better off with the cover from a king size duvet.

Listen, I’ve said this before and I don’t care – if you have a spare afternoon, go to your local cat and dog shelter and volunteer to walk the dogs or stroke the cats. They’ll love it and you get free exercise and the chance to see beauties like this one.

The irony of twochubbycubs finally pulling a Bear isn’t lost to us, by the way.


Cottage pie with a swede and carrot top and roasted green vegetables


to make cottage pie you will need:

  • for the vegetables – 20 brussel sprouts (halved and peeled) (S) and a head of broccoli (S), together with a couple of squirts of frylight, balsamic vinegar and salt
  • for the top: peeled and chopped swede (S) and three large peeled and chopped carrots (S)
  • for the mince: 500g of extra lean beef mince (P), one small stalk of celery (S), one red onion (S), two carrots (S), tin of chopped tomatoes (S), one garlic clove (S), beef stock cube

to make cottage pie you should:

  • mix the sprouts and chopped head of broccoli up in a good few glugs of balsamic vinegar, salt and frylight, and pop in the oven on the bottom shelf on 180 degrees
  • get your chopped swede and carrot boiling away in water. Once soft, rice the buggers or mash them hard. Ricers are brilliant, they make buttery smooth mash with no effort. We use this ricer, it’s never failed us and is reduced to £13 from £22
  • meanwhile, prepare your mince, which is nothing more than sweating down your finely chopped onion, carrot and celery in a bit of salt and a dab of oil, then putting in the mince and browning it off, then adding the chopped tomatoes and a stock cube, and letting it bubble down
  • when the mince is thick and the mash is ready, put the mince in the bottom of a pyrex dish and top with the mash, and then, if you’re feeling like a truly luxurious dirty girl, you can spread your cheese over the top, so when it comes out of the oven after thirty minutes on 180 degrees, you can peel off the top like a great big scab.

Mmm! Bet you’re hungry now. Actually, it was delicious. And gosh, it was a SW recipe which we tinkered with, and I didn’t even need to sieve my dinner before serving like I normally do with SW recipes! GOSH.

Just look at that. I said quick post and I’ve typed 1715 words and that’s without a lunch bit. This is why the book might take a while…!