Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stuffed Peppers with mince

THE boss has so many Irish relatives that no doubt there is a branch on his family tree connected to that great long-distance runner Sonia O'Sullivan. Perhaps this explains his recent keep-fit drive. But forget four minute miles, or half marathons or 10k runs. The boss has come up with a new form of cross country - the six-minute run.
This week he put on his new go-faster trainers, sprinter's vest and silky, non-friction shorts and headed off for a quick lap of Victoria Park. It seemed to go quite well for the first 60 seconds or so. Unfortunately by the time he had got half way around eye witness report seeing him doubled up, breathing through his a*** with tears flowing from his eyes.
Resident Meeja Wales athlete Mike "Troublat" Hill was quick to question him about his route to fitness. "So how often does tha' go on these treks," he asked.
"Well I did go running about this time last year, so I thought I would be alright," he confided.
Now Troublat is thinking of entering him in the South Wales Eggcup's Race for Life with a webcam attached to his head so that we can all watch his progress.
I reckon it would be like that scene in the Blair Witch Project where, after six times around the woods, the girl peers into the camera, fear in her eyes and her nose dripping from her exertions, confessing how scared she is. Troublat reckons that the webcam will end up focussed on the pavement where a pool of vomit will have formed under the boss.

Apparently as part of this health kick he has also bought a new bike. He forked out on a piece of state-of-the-art equipment, totally unaware that it had only one gear. Don't be surprised if you see the Boss heading backwards down a hill near you, face stuck in some kind of frozen grimace and shouting in his dulcet Irish tones: "Ah, fook! Ah fook! Ah fook!"

I thought for one moment on Friday morning that Van Helsing had finally caught up to the Prince of Darkness, surprising him with a wooden stake through the heart in his musty lair on Cathedral Road. At 11.15 there was still no sign of the Dark Lord at his work station when normally, hungover and bedraggled maybe, he is there on the dot.
As questions started to be asked in the house (particularly by those who had seen him getting stuck into the voddies in the Soda Bar in the early hours) I decided the best course of action was to send him a text. Seconds later my phone rang. "F***, f***, f***," he said, in a phrase not unlike the trick-cycling Boss, "I've just woken up... the alarm didn't go off. That's NEVER happened to me before. Thanks for the text mate, it woke me up!"
Twenty minutes later the Prince was hot-footing it through the doors, having donned his fastest cape to spirit him from house to office. To be fair, he looked in a far better state than most days. "I actually woke at 8 and thought, 'I'll just sleep a bit longer, I don't have to be up for ages."

Friday night and the gathering of the clans took place in the old new O'Neills. Smashy and Paps, the wonderful one, Ben Double Glazing, a member of our ace reporting staff, and the Prince himself were sinking beers at a rate of knots. At some stage I was giving the poor old Prince an earbashing over what, I am at a complete loss to recall,. The wonderful one decided it was a good time to interrupt and, without thinking, I pushed out a left arm jab and caught him right in the eye. I have no idea why, the poor fellow certainly didn't deserve it. Spent the next half hour apologising before tottering home.
I must have been in a bit of a state because I forgot to text Mrs R to tell her I was home and woke up next morning in desperate need of Resolve Plus.

The big news, for those who don't know, is that I am actually leaving Meeja Wales for pastures new. I have landed a job at the News of the World, sports editing the Welsh edition. Big stuff indeed. It now means that I will be able to deal in scurrilous scandal and get paid for it, rather than do it for my own pleasure on this blog.

On Wednesday night I cooked up a meal of stuffed peppers with a mince and parmesan filling. Yes, Withers, it was out of the Observer Food Monthly (an old copy from about two years ago) and was delivered by good old Nigel Slater. In fact, I mixed up two of his recipes - tasty mince and stuffed peppers.
50g butter
cubed bacon (I used pancetta)
one medium onion - diced
2 flat cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 sticks of celery (chopped)
100g mushrooms (sliced)
2 bay leaves
400g minced beef
canned tomatoes
three peppers (I used one red, one green and one yellow)

Melt the butter in a heavy pan (I used my non-stick wok), then stir in pancetta and cook for five minutes without colouring much. Add garlic and onion and mix in, the add celery.
Cook for a further five minutes before adding the mushrooms and bay leaves.
Turn up heat, add the meat, and brown. Put in on one side and cook on a reasonable heat, then turn over bit by bit until it is all brown.
Add the tomatoes and the stock (I put in water then added one of the new stock pots), nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Bring to boil, then turn heat down slightly.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200 and cut the peppers in half. Discard seeds, then lower them into boiling water and leave for 6-8 minutes until they go slightly limp.
Remove from the water with a draining spoon. Spread olive oil on a baking tray then roll the peppers in it and turn upwards so that they can be filled. Put in the mince mixture and top the peppers with a good measure of parmesan.
Put in the oven and remove 20 minutes later. Being quite hungry I had them with a bit of Penne Pasta

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