Friday, September 29, 2006

Minced Beef with scrambled eggs

THE world and his wife were invited to a PR do last night to celebrate the "launch" of a new lager. Yet even the thought of free beer couldn't encourage me to go hob-nobbing with a bunch of PR people.
I can't handle the false cheeriness of these Jocastas, Jemimas and Poppys (and the girls have names equally as strange. Boom, boom!) They pretend to be your best friend when they've never met you before in their lives. When they ring you up you are expected to know immediately who they are - even when they get your name dreadfully wrong. A typical conversation goes as such...
"Hi there... woo... Jocasta here from Profilactic Promotions, Hi. Can I speak to Dick Whittington please?"
"Um, there's no Dick Whittington here. I'm Nick..."
"Oh, right Dick. Well anyway we thought you might like to..."
Go strangle yourself, you silly tart.
Anyway, I headed off in one direction while Roberts, Withers, Rosey and Marc set out on the search for the ultimate freebie. I'm just stepping onto the bus and my phone starts going mad, beeping to inform me I've had a thousand text messages.
Now, if you are me you know this is pretty odd, basically because I can go for whole weeks without one message (Billy no mates, you see). Sitting down, I check the phone.
I've always had the feeling that my colleagues are all linked by a single brain cell, like an alien lifeform has taken them over as in The Bodysnatchers, but this is uncanny. Four messages from four people and ALL the same message! "Agata is behind the bar!", or in Marc's case "Agthete is serving" (maybe he's broken away from the Hive).
I know what they expect. They expect me to get off this bus, hot foot it to the freebie function over half a mile away, just to see the girl of my dreams. But I'm not THAT desperate. Well, maybe I am, but I can already see the worst-case scenario. For me, even at a brewery bash, the glass is always half empty - that's why I spend so much time at the bar, I suppose (my excuse and I'm sticking to it). I can imagine turning up, drinking lots of free beer, making a complete tit of myself in front of my favourite Polish barmaid and waking up this morning with a dreadful hangover and many regrets.
Much safer to go home for a meal and a night in front of the telly.
I've taken some minced beef out of the freezer and I fancy some Chinese - but disaster strikes! My Ken Hom Cookbook is missing. This sparks off a major race-against-the-clock search as I need to at least prepare the meal before Extras. I contemplate having something else, but my panic over the missing cookbook is increasing.
I look everywhere, open every cupboard, search every drawer but no luck. I start cursing out loud, accusing anyone who has ever been to my flat of cookbook theft. How very dare they!
But, of course, I find the book after a good 15 minutes, lying under a pillow that just happens to be propped up on my bedroom floor along with 50-odd back copies of newspapers. Hmm, perhaps it's time for a tidy up next week.
Back to the kitchen where I rustle up Ken's Minced Beef with scrambled eggs.
You need:
8 oz mince
For the marinade:
2 tsp light soy
2 tsp rice wine
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Marinade the mince in this for 20 mins in the fridge.

Mix four eggs (it says six in the recipe but I havent got six)
add 2 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp light soy (perhaps a bit less or it can become salty), 4 tbsp finely chopped spring onions. Mix it all in.

Put on wok or frying pan until hot and smoking. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable/peanut oil, until that smokes, then put in the marinade mixture and stir fry for two mins. You will have to turn it down slightly as the meat can spit.
After two minutes, when the mince is cooked, remove it from the wok, then wipe wok clean, heat and add oil. When this is smoking add the egg mixture.
As it starts to scramble add beef and continue to stir until the egg is done and beef heated through.
I had this with spinach. You fry up 2 crushed garlic cloves and salt for about ten seconds then add the Spinach leaves (without stalks). When this starts to wilt add a spoonful of sugar and continue to stir fry for four mins. Serve.

News reaches me from another intrepid outlet of sports journalism in Cardiff.
We sports hacks can be pretty confrontational, either in the Roberts way of swearing at every rugby-connected person he interviews to provoke a reaction, or in actually squaring up to each other and threatening fisticuffs.
Anyway, what started as a joke apparently broke out into open warfare - a dangerous thing when the man on the end of the joke, Bono Junior, has spent the last three months army training.
The wreckless loon who sparked it decided, rather oddly, that Bono would appreciate his attempt at humour.
"Have you heard the one about the Gestapo?"
Slap! "Liar!"
Cue mayhem as Bono starts throwing punches and the newsroom descends into uproar.
Oh, to be a fly-on-the-wall!

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