Big Stevie Cool

A North East Food & Dad Blogger featuring recipes, lifestyle posts, film reviews & life as a dad of 3.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Project Bond: You Only Live Twice

"The Things I Do for England"

We're heading into the realms of parody fodder with You Only Live Twice. The obvious one being the parallels with Austin Powers and especially Blofeld and Dr Evil. You Only Live Twice was Sean Connery's 5th Bond film in five years and you can tell from his performance in the film that he was no longer happy making Bond movies and he was really just going through the motions.

The film starts with a US spaceship doing some routine mission in orbit when another mysterious spaceship approaches before the capsule opens and engulfs the US ship. The US think the Russians are to blame (it's was always the Russians to blame in the cold war). When we first see Bond he is in Hong Kong bedding a Chinese bird (obviously) but then she springs a trap and Bond is seemingly shot to death. Bond is buried at sea (he is a Commander in the Royal Navy after all) but it then turns out that he is not dead and he faked his death to get some of his enemies to stop looking for him.

Bond is sent to Japan to investigate as this is where the British think the mystery Spaceship landed back on Earth. While Bond is Investigating a shady company he is captured by a woman we find out later is Number 11 in SPECTRE. The next sequence of events for me make absolutely no sense at all. While Bond is being interrogated by Number 11 she slaps him around a little and then without much prompting from Bond suddenly succumbs to his charms and they start making out, I know bond is a ladies man but this is just ridiculous. She then frees him and they end up in bed together. After they do the do they make plans to escape together and fly back to Europe, then when they are on the plane Number 11 traps Bond again and parachutes out of the plane leaving Bond to die. This all seems entirely unnecessary as if she wanted him dead she could have just done it when he was tied to the chair at the start.

Anyway back to the film, after Bond escapes the plane he meets up with Q and gets a mini gyrocopter laden with all manner of Q Branch upgrades. Bond takes "Little Nellie" for a spin around the island he is checking out and soon an ariel battle ensure as Bond is circling an extinct volcano.

Soon after a Russian spaceship is taken by the same mystery spaceship and this time we see that SPECTRE is behind it. we see Number 1 stroking his white Persian Cat, he is not happy with Number 11 as she let Bond escape and dispatches her by setting off a trapdoor on a bridge over a pool of Piranha.

Bond is told he will be trained as a ninja, because why not, and for some reason needs to wear prosthetics to look Japanese. While Bond is sleeping an assassin tries to poison him but the woman he's been knobbing gets it instead. We now find out Bond is disguised so he can sneak onto the island SPECTRE is working from. As Bond is snooping around he finds that SPECTRE is based in a frickin' secret lair in a frickin' hollowed out volcano. Bond infiltrates the base but is spotted by Number one who finally introduces himself as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the scar-faced, bald headed, Nehru jacket wearing head of SPECTRE played by Donald Pleasance. We are told that SPECTRE wants USA and Russia to go to war so SPECTRE can rise up and take over the world.

Blofeld proceeds with their plan to steal another US spaceship but the ninja's Bond has been training with arrive and Bond escapes and manages to blow up SPECTRE's spaceship but Blofeld escapes and sets off a self destruct mechanism in the volcano (because all secret lairs need a self destruct mechanism).

The is not a good bond film it's only saving grace is Donald Pleasance as Blofeld and he is only fleetingly in it for the last few minutes. You can tell from the finished film that it was a strained production with Connery and producer Cubby Broccoli having a massive falling out during the making of the film. If it weren't for the poor box office returns of the next film then this would probably have been Connery's last outing as Bond.

Project Bond will be back On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Well, that's all for now.



Monday, 17 October 2016

Monday Munchies: Sushi

I love sushi. Either as a light lunch or a healthy snack it's great. We recently stoked up on sushi stuff and if you make your own you can customise it to have whatever ingredients you like best so it's not all raw fish. Also if you have kids they will love coming up with their own recipes and then making it themselves.

We decided to make 3 different kinds Red Pepper Maki, King Prawn Nigiri and King Prawn Uramaki. To make these you will need the following ingredients:

Sushi Rice
Nori (seaweed sheets)
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Red Pepper King Prawns

The rice will take the most prep but it is relatively easy if you follow the instructions on the packet.

Red Pepper Maki

Maki is the most popular type of sushi with the nori on the outside of the rice and, in our case, the red pepper in the middle. Start by putting the nori on the bamboo rolling mat and then spread some sushi rice over the nori and then add some sliced red pepper at one end. Once done it's time to roll up the sushi.

King Prawn Nigiri

Nigiri is really easy to make you just mould the rice into shape (you can also buy a mould to make the shape you will see in restaurants). Once it's moulded you just need to put whatever ingredient you want on top, in our case a King Prawn.

King Prawn Uramaki

Uramaki is like an inside out Maki. You start my spreading the rice on the bamboo sushi rolling mat then add the ingredients. Once its been rolled you can decorate it by rolling it in some toasted sesame seeds.

Once done you can serve your sushi with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi. Have you ever made your own sushi? What do you like in yours?

Well, that's all for now.



Monday, 10 October 2016

Monday Munchies: Pesto crusted Sea Bass with Roasted New Potatoes

I was bored recently and had some left overs in the fridge so decided to make some pesto with a twist. I dusted off my food processor (which I should use more often for sauces and pastes) and made a rocket pesto with rocket, pine nuts, garlic, cheddar cheese and rapeseed oil. Pesto is really easy to make as you just put all of the dry ingredients into the food processor and once it's all chopped up start adding the oil slowly until it combines into pesto.

Now that I had some delicious home made pesto I needed something to do with it. So I asked on Twitter and Facebook (you can follow me here and here) what you be a good pesto recipe as I usually have pesto with pasta, chicken and mangetout (which is amazing by the way) but I wanted to try something different.

The dish I decided on was this, Pesto crusted Sea Bass with Roast New Potatoes and Asparagus wrapped in Parma ham.


This recipe will serve 2 and you will need:

2 Sea Bass Fillets
New Potatoes
1 pack of asparagus spears
1 pack of Parma ham


Add the Pesto to the breadcrumbs and mix it with your fingers until it is combines in bready pesto-y goodness.

Divide this in two and and put it on the flesh side of the sea bass fillets. Put the fillets on a plate and leave in the fridge while you do the potatoes.

Chop the new potatoes in half and boil them in a pan for 5 minutes. Next grease a roasting tin and add the boiled potatoes. using a masher, lightly mash the potatoes so they are just slightly crushed and put them in an oven at 200ºc for around 25 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown.

Next take the sea bass out of the fridge and fry it skin side down in a hot pan until the skin goes crispy. Then transfer the fillets to a baking tray (or leave them in the pan if your pan is oven proof) and put them in the oven with the potatoes for the last 10 minutes.

Whilst the fish and potatoes are in the oven you can wrap the asparagus spears in the parma ham and then cook them in a hot griddle pan.

The asparagus should only take a few minutes on each side and then everything will be ready to serve.

Well, that's all for now



Saturday, 8 October 2016

Cocktail of the month: Halloween Special

Cocktail of the month is back and as it's October we've decided to have Halloween themed cocktails. We recently had some friends round our house for an early Halloween party and these are the drinks we served.

Toffee Apple


Salted Caramel Vodka
Cloudy Apple Juice
The first cocktail was the easiest to make as only has 2 ingredients. The Vodka is so nice and doesn't taste alcoholic at all and when mixed with the Apple Juice it tastes just like a toffee apple. I mixed 50ml of Vodka with 150ml of Apple juice and served this is a Martini Glass. The glass was decorated with Halloween coloured sprinkles.



White Rum (Bacardi)
Dark Rum (Kraken)
Gold Rum (Havana Club)
Mango and Papaya Juice (You might need to visit a few shops before you find this)

Now this is the cocktail everyone was talking about at the party. I think the only reason it is called a Zombie is because once you've finished one you feel like a zombie. This is a very Caribbean cocktail with 3 types of Rum (White, Dark and Gold), mixed with Mango and Papaya Juice. To make this this you need 12.5ml (half a 25ml measure) of White Rum, 25ml of Dark Rum and 37.5ml (1 and 1/2 of a 25ml measure) of Gold Rum then top it up with 200ml if Mango and Papaya juice and serve in a Highball Glass with ice.

Now head over to Life as Mrs R for the details of the canapés we served.

Now, that's all for now.



Thursday, 6 October 2016

Westworld: Season 1 Episode 1 The Original

Westworld is a new Sci-Fi/Western based on the 1973 movie of the same name. The premise is the same, a futuristic theme park where guests play cowboys in a simulated wild west and where all the inhabitants are played by life like androids called hosts but the tone of this series is a lot darker that the original film.

The show starts with Delores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood), a young woman who lives on farm with her parents, also Teddy (James Marsden) who we find has a romantic history with Delores. After they meet and spend the day together they head back to Delores' farm where they find a gunfight has taken place and Delores father has been killed. After Teddy kills the bandits a man in black appears (played by Ed Harris) and we find that Delores and Teddy are both hosts and host are incapable of hurting real people (the man in black is real). In a sinister turn the man in black kills Teddy and drags Delores off to a barn and you realise how truly dark this series is going to be.

Next we meet Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) who is head of programming at Westworld who is working on a host who has had a recent software update. He then follows a security team as they go to the basement where all of the decommissioned hosts are kept and he find the founder of Westworld Dr Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) who is talking to an old host and after a conversation with Bernard seems distant and uninterested in the way Westworld is headed.

Back in Westworld one of the hosts malfunctions in what looks like they're having a stroke and after some investigation it turns out the recent update has caused the problem. After a few more hosts malfunction they people in charge of Westworld have to recall the the affected hosts so they decide to have one of the bad guy hosts stage a robbery at the saloon. As the updated hosts are interrogated there is a unnerving creepiness as unintended personalities emerge from older programming. The affected hosts are decommissioned and sent to a holding room with other previously decommissioned units in a truly haunting scene.

On a side note, the soundtrack was also amazing with western styled versions of Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden and Paint it Black By The Rolling Stones and the show ends with Ain't No Grave by Johnny Cash.

Here is the trailer for episode 2 'Chestnut'.

Well, that's all for now.



Monday, 3 October 2016

Monday Munchies: Pork Belly Sunday Dinner

Everyone loves a Sunday dinner. Everyone has their favourite part, is it the meat? Is it the roasties? Is it the Yorkshire pudding? I alway try and shop at local butchers and green grocers for my ingredients and my favourite place to go is the Grainger Market in Newcastle City Centre. I love talking to the butcher about the cut of meat I want and it is so much cheaper than getting it at a supermarket. So, I'm going to take you through my favourite Sunday Dinner Roast Pork Belly with Roast Potatoes, Carrots, Peas, Yorkshire Pudding and Homemade Apple Sauce with Apple Crumble and Ice Cream for pudding.

This meal is fairly easy to make but there is a lot of ingredients and the hardest bit is making sure you start making each ingredient at the right time to that it all comes together at the end. First things first the meat will take the longest so that is where we'll start. To prep the Pork belly score the fat with a sharp knife, then dry the meat with some kitchen roll and cover the fat with salt and leave it for a few minute. Pre heat the oven to it's hottest temperature, after a few minutes remove the excess salt from the pork and put it in the oven for 30 mins and then reduce the heat to around 180ºc for the rest of the time and average joint of pork should take around and hour and a half. Cooking the pork like this makes sure you get perfect crackling at the end. Another tip it to put any trimmings you have from your vegetables in the bottom of the roasting dish with a little bit of water and this will help make some amazing gravy.

Next up is the roast potatoes, peel and cut the potatoes and the soak them in cold water to remove the starch. After around 5 mins of soaking transfer the potatoes to a pan of boiling water and boil for around 7-8 minutes until they are just starting to go soft. Heat some goose fat in a roasting tin and take the potatoes off the heat and drain the water away. Put the lid on the pan and give it a shake to fluff up the edges of the potatoes and then put them in the roasting tin and get them all coated in the melted goose fat and cook in the oven for around 45 minutes.

On to the carrots, peel them and cut them into batons. As with the potatoes boil them for a few minutes until they start to soften. Put them in a roasting tin and coat them with oil (I like to use rapeseed oil) and cook in the oven for around 15 mins. I also like to drizzle on some honey and cook for a further 5 minutes.

The peas are the easiest and just need to be boiled for a few minutes right at the end.

Next I made a simple batter from flour, eggs and milk. Heat some oil in a Yorkshire pudding tray, pour the batter equally into the moulds and cook in the oven for around 10 minutes.

Once the meat is finished leave it to rest for a few minutes and while you do this you can make some gravy. The meat juices should have mixed with the veg trimmings and to make the gravy just pass it all through a sieve and then deglaze the roasting tin with some more water (or stock if you have any) and then mix this with the juices. If you need to thicken it just add a little corn flour and stir until it thickens then when it's ready you can decant it into your favourite gravy jug, here is mine.

When serving Sunday Dinner I like to have everything in it's own bowl/plate in the middle of the table and then everyone can help themselves to what they want. This is great when you have little picky eaters who complain about different types of food.

I don't always make a dessert to go with Sunday Dinner but this week I had a hankering for some apple crumble. From the green grocers at the Granger market I bought 2 brabmley apples and 4 golden delicious. There is also a weigh house at the Grainger market that I got some dark brown sugar and I was planning on getting some oats and stuff to make my crumble but when I got there they already had some crumble mix pre-made, result!. 

Peel and core the apples and cut them into chunks. Heat some water and 2 tablespoons of the dark brown sugar until its all dissolved. then add the apples. Make sure the apples are coated in the sugary water mix for around 10 minutes until the bramleys have turned to mush. Next add some ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon (add as much or as little as you like) and cook for a further few minutes. Once done put the apple into a baking dish and add the crumble mix and then sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake in the oven at 180º for around 25 minutes until the crumble is golden and the apple is bubbling.

What do you think of my Sunday dinner? What do you like to have on yours?

Well, that's all for now.



Thursday, 29 September 2016

6 shows to watch this autumn

Remember when TV used to be the poor relation of Hollywood, well in recent years the output from the TV studios has, in my opinion, surpassed that of the Hollywood studios. Autumn is a time when a lot of new and returning shows get their premiere and here is my list of the shows to watch this autumn.

Luke Cage - Netflix 30th September

Coming out of the pages of Marvel Comics Luke Cage shares the same Movie/TV universe as the Avengers as well as Netflix's other Marvel shows Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The character Luke Cage has already made a cameo in Jessica Jones and is now getting his own show. Mike Colter plays the reluctant defender who uses his super strength and unbreakable skin to protect the streets of Harlem.

Westworld - Sky Atlantic 9pm 4th October

Based on the 1973 film of the same name Westworld sports an incredible cast featuring Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, James Marsden and Thandie Newton. Westworld is a western themed holiday park inhabited by life like robots where the human visitors can live out their fantasies. Nothing is off limits in Westworld no matter how dark your desires. But, as with all futuristic theme parks, the shit is about to hit the fan.

Yonderland (Season 3) - Sky One 6.30pm 16th October

Yonderland is back. This has been one of my favourite series to watch with the kids. From the makers of Horrible Histories, Yonderland is the absurd odyssey of Debbie Maddox who is whisked away by Elf the Elf and Nick the Stick who take her to save the magical world of Yonderland from the evil forces of Negatus. The 3rd season sees Debbie back in Yonderland to battle and new threat, her evil twin sister Imperatrix (Trixie for short), Stephen Fry also joins the cast as Cuddly Dick. If, like me, you are fond of the silliness then you need to watch Yonderland.

The Walking Dead (Season 7) - Fox 9pm 24th October

Well, what can I say about The Walking Dead. Along with Game of Thrones, this is just about the best TV you can get. The Zombie Apocalypse Saga returns for it's 7th season and with the regular cast last seen at the mercy of new villain Negan. How are they going to get out of this one? Violently is the answer I expect. I know some people roll their eyes at zombie stuff but in The Walking Dead the zombies play second fiddle to the human villains who have emerged since the collapse of civilisation. Honestly I cannot recommend The Walking Dead highly enough to quote my brother-in-law, Mark, it is the greatest show of our generation!

The Flash (Season 3)- Sky One 8pm 25th October

While the DC Movie universe has taken a kicking from the critics and divided fans (I really like the DC movies in case you were wondering), one thing we can all agree on is the DC TV universe is brilliant. Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl have all been stellar TV, however my favourite is The Flash. Back for it's 3rd season The Flash has Grant Gustin donning the Scarlet Speedsters suit once again as Barry Allen. When last we saw The Flash he had travelled back in time to change the past and now he is back in the present but everything different.

Humans (Season 2) - Channel 4 Date TBD October

The plot of Humans is similar to Westworld in that it explore how humans would interact with life like humanoid robots. Where as Westworld is a theme park the robots in Humans are more like domestic appliances. The 1st season saw the Hawkins family invest in a new gadget, Anita, but not all was as it seems. Humans has really nailed the promotion of the show with viral marketing playing a bit part of their trailers.

Are there any shows you're looking forward to. Let me know what you think of my suggestions.

Well, that's all for now.


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