SHUTTS has settled on the type of car he wants. And just as you would expect of the tallest man in the world, he's going to buy a mini. Honestly. No sh*t. The man with a frame of 6ft 20 or so inches is going to squeeze into something that stands about 4 feet off the ground.
I'm already having images of him having to take out the front seats and cut a hole in the roof, then drive around like Dino, the dinosaur in the old Flinstone cartoons. Always one to count the cash, perhaps he will cut holes in the floor too and run around to save on petrol, making "vvrmm, vvrrmm" noises as he goes.
"Why the hell are you getting a mini, Shutts?" we all chirped in unison at this astonishing revelation.
"The Missus wants one," he revealed, shifting the blame as he is wont to do.
"But didn't you put your foot down and demand something a bit more practical?" I asked.
"No, it's ok. Mind you, we won't be able to fit any passengers in the back. Still, she's set her heart on it so there is little I can do about it."
Talking about people being badgered into things by their other halves, the Prince of Darkness is now the proud owner of a dog. He is decidely grumpy about this, having answered the pleas of wife and kids with the outburst "No, no, no, no, no". The Princess of Darkness totally ignored him as usual.
I'm not quite sure the dog that was chosen fits the Prince's image, however. You would think he might possess a hellhound, a black rottweiler or the hound of the baskervilles. Umm, not really. He's actually got a labradoodle, which I assume is a cross between a labrador and a poodle. How one of these is physically produced is beyond me. Doesn't seem possible. But there it is.
People around the Cwmbran area of Gwent will be locking their doors at the sound of its distant howling, quaking in their beds as the Prince strides the streets, dragging it on its midnight walks. Probably in a muslin bag.
Unable to get hold of veal this week, I instead bought a very tender piece of beef and followed a great recipe from Anthony Bourdain. First, though, I made up my own chicken stock by roasting carrots, shallots and celery in the oven then putting them in a large saucepan together with the bones of a cooked chicken I had bought from Sainsbury's, some thyme, bayleafs and back peppercorns. Filling the pan close to the top with water, I gently simmered this for about four hours or so, then strained the vegetables out with a metal sieve and poured the stock into a measuring jug.
For the tenderloin:
1lb of beef tenderloin
A selection of wild mushrooms like Shitake and oyster mushrooms.
A small bottle of madeira wine.
Salt and pepper.
Heat oven to gas mark 4.
Wash the meat and shake on some salt and pepper. leave stand for about 20 mins.
Heat up a non-stick frying pan then add olive oil and a knob of butter. Wait for the butter or margarine to sizzle then die down, then sear the meat on all sides until nicely brown.
Remove meat from pan and put into ovenproof dish together with its juices. Put in the oven for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile heat a small saucepan, melt in some more butter or marge, then add the washed mushrooms. Cook until they soften and start to brown.
Add 2 fld ozs of madeira wine and scrape up the juices as you mix it. Add the shallots and continue to cook.
Remove the meat from the oven, poor the juices back into a frying pan and leave the meat to stand.
Heat up the meat juices then add 2 more fld ounces of madeira and bring to boil, add the mushroom mixture then 5 ozs of the chicken stock, stirring all the time. Boil rapidly until sauce is reduced by half, then add 4 fl ozs of double cream, turn down but continue to stir. Add pepper and salt as required.
Cut up the steak and serve with mashed potato, roasted squash and roasted leek. Then poor over the mushroom sauce.