Big Stevie Cool

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

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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.

S

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Monday, 26 September 2016

Monday Munchies: Colonel Steve's Northumberland Fried Chicken


I try to make healthy dishes whenever I can as I'm trying to lose weight but every now and then you need something naughty and they don't come much naughtier than KFC. When I was a kid KFC was always my favourite fast food place but the last few times I've been I was disappointed with both the food and the cleanliness of the restaurant.

Everyone knows KFC is made with Colonel Sanders' secret blend of 11 herbs and spices which, according to legend, is locked in the KFC vault in Kentucky. The mix is so secret that they make half of it in one factory and the other half in another factory and combine it in the restaurant. I've done a bit of research online and there are a few website claiming they have discovered the secret recipe (non of which can be verified) so using these as inspiration I made my own blend of 11 herbs and spices and have invented Colonel Steve's Northumberland Fried Chicken.

Ingredients:


I won't keep my blend secret and these measurements should make enough to coat around 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks, so to make mine mix you will need:

1 cup Plain Flour
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Sage
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Marjoram
1 tsp Chilli Powder
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

You will also need:

8 Chicken Pieces (thighs or drumsticks work best)
Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg
Milk

You will also need a deep fat fryer or a large pan.

Method:

Fill your pan or deep fat fryer with oil and heat to 180Âșc. In a large mixing bowl beat the egg and combine with enough milk to cover the chicken. Put the chicken into the egg/milk mix and leave it to soak. Whilst the chicken is soaking in a separate bowl combine all of the herbs and spices with the flour.
I roped Harry in to help with the next bit as it's a bit messy and kids love getting messy. You just need to take each piece of chicken out of the egg/milk mix and coat it is the herb/spice mix.
Once all of the chicken is coated leave it to rest for a few minutes. Now the oil should be at the right temperature and it's time to get frying. I used a deep fat fryer but as we only have a small one I had to cook each piece of chicken individually, this took ages as each piece needs to be fried for about 12 minutes so if you have bigger pan I would suggested cooking in batches to speed things up.
Once done place the chicken on a plate with some kitchen roll to allow any excess oil to drain off and for it to cool. Now it's time to dig into some delicious chicken and don't forget to lick your fingers when you're done.
Let me know what you think of Colonel Steve's Northumberland Fried Chicken. Have you ever tried to re-create your favourite fast food meal?

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Thursday, 22 September 2016

Big Stevie Cool Meets Big Daddy Cool

A few months ago I went to an Evening with Bret Hart (you can read about it here) well last week another of my favourite wrestlers Kevin Nash was in toon for 'An evening with...'

As you may or may not know I'm a bit of a pro-wrestling geek. The 90's in my opinion was the greatest time in wrestling with WWF battling WCW in a weekly ratings war. One of the main reasons for this war was the nWo faction and one of the key members of the nWo was Kevin Nash AKA Big Sexy AKA Diesel AKA Big Daddy Cool.

Debuting in WWF in 1993 as Diesel the 7 foot tall leather jacket clad bodyguard of Shawn Michaels (Shawn Michaels was/is my absolute favourite wrestler and really hope he comes to town soon). As the bodyguard and then tag team partner of my favourite wrestler Diesel quickly became one of my favourite wrestlers too. In his debut year Diesel would go on to win the Tag Team Titles with Shawn Michaels as well as The intercontinental championship in his own right and then would beat WWF/E Hall of Famer Bob Backlund to with the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Fast forward to 1996 and Diesel and another top WWF guy Razor Ramon would send shockwaves around the wrestling world by leaving WWF and going to their main rivals WCW to form the nWo along with former WWF Legend Hulk Hogan. The nWo were instantly the biggest thing in wrestling.

An evening with Kevin Nash was held at the Lancastrian Suite of the Federation Brewery in Gateshead. Me and my mate Dean went to Newcastle for a few pints before the event for a catch up as it's been a few months since we'd seen each other then we got a taxi from town to the venue. Our ticket included a photo with Kevin Nash and an autograph. The ticket was £50 which was cheaper than the Bret Hart ticket we got a few months ago which I was happy about (although we did get a meal included with the Bret Hart ticket).

After we found our seats, we got another pint and had a quick look around the items that would be on offer during the auction and raffle. There were autographed photo collages, paintings and other memorabilia. One item on display (although not available to buy) was a replica of the WWF Title Belt (known as the Winged Eagle Belt) that Kevin Nash won during him time in WWF. This belt is my favourite design for the title and brings back so many memories as most of my favorite wrestlers have held this version at one time or another. Legends like, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have all held this belt along with Kevin Nash himself.

WWF World Heavyweight Championship Belt

The event starts with the auction and raffle and once all of the prizes had been won/bought it was time to bring out the man himself. Now I know wrestlers are usually big guys but, Jesus Christ, Kevin Nash is Tall. I've always known he was 7 foot tall but I never really appreciated how tall 7 foot is until I saw him in person.

Kevin Nash on stage


He came on stage and thanked everyone for coming and then it was time to get our photos taken. We queued up and watched as others were getting their pictures taken shaking Nash's hand so me and Dean decided we would get our picture taking throwing up the wolpac hand sign that Nash and other wrestlers we liked usually use. After we were done a few others were also throwing up this sign and some went further with full on poses reminiscent of his time tagging with Shawn Michaels.

What a geek
After the photos were done it was time for the Q&A section. The host had a few question already prepared and Nash talked about his favourite matches, his many previous gimmicks, his friendship with the other members of The Kliq (Shawn Michael, Triple H, Scott Hall and X-Pac) and of course the nWo. Nash told stories about how much respect he had for Bob Backlund for putting him over for his 1st title and how Backlund really sold the ending my crawling back from the ring to backstage. He also said how his favourite match was the one he had against Bret Hart at Survivor Series '95. He also talked about his acting career which started with the role of 'Super-Shredder' in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and continued in films like Punisher, the Longest Yard and the Magic Mike movies. He also said the role he really wants is as Cable in the next Deadpool movie, I could really see him playing Cable.
Kevin Nash as Cable?
After the questions were all asked (including one Dean asked about the after show party following Wrestlemania XI when Diesel and Shawn Michaels were escorted the ring by Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy), it was then time for the autograph session and once we had met Big Daddy Cool again and got our pictures signed it was time for me and Dean to head back to to town for a few more pints.

Well, back in town all hell nearly broke loose as we were just minding our own business (honest), chatting to a fellow patron at one of the roughest bars in Newcastle, when argument broke out between Dean a group of young men at the bar. I can't quite remember what the argument was about I think it was something ridiculous like the culprit of a particularly smelly fart (I swear it wasn't me) but this nearly descended into fisticuffs. However we were 'asked to leave' before any punches were thrown. We went for another pint at a different bar, Dean was still a bit hyped up and wanted to go back and teach those young men a thing or two but I managed to convince him it was a bad idea for the two of us to try and give the 10 of them a piece of our minds so we just finished out pints and made plans to finally travel to America and go and see Wrestlemania live!

Anyway, here are some of Kevin Nash's greatest moments in wrestling:

WWF Title Match Survivor Series 1995 Diesel (c) Vs Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

WWF Survivor Series 1995 - Bret Hart Vs. Diesel by WWFNetwork

Shawn Michaels & Diesel (c) Vs Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid

Action Zone '94 - Shawn Michaels & Diesel vs... by WCWRULES4LYF

Kevin Nash debuts in WCW

WCW Nitro 1996 - Scott Hall and Eric Bischoff... by KILERISS1

Formation of nWo at Bash at the Beach 1996

WCW Bash At The Beach 1996 - Team WCW Vs... by WWFNetwork

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Monday, 19 September 2016

Monday Munchies: Smoked Mackerel and Lemon Risotto


I've mentioned a few times before that me and Mrs Cool often get a box from Gousto and we have always been impressed with their recipes. One of our recent recipes was this Smoked Mackerel Risotto and it has been one of our favourites.

Ingredients:

This recipe will serve 2 people and you will need:

160g arborio rice
1 vegetable stock cube
40g of cornish clotted cream
1 lemon
100g British smocked mackerel fillet
1 tsp shoaxing wine (if you can't get this then a pale dry sherry will also work)
1 onion
50g pea shoots


Method:

Start by boiling a kettle and dissolving the stock cube in 700ml of boiling water, next dice the onion and sweat this down in a wide based pan with a little oil (I usually use rapeseed oil) it should only take about 5 minutes on a medium heat as you want the onions to be soft bit not too brown.
Next add the rice and stir with the oil and onions for about 30 seconds then add the wine and cook for a further 30 seconds. Add 240ml of the stock and keep stirring until all of the stock is absorbed (around 4-5 minutes should do). Keep adding more stock one ladle at a time and stir until each ladleful is absorbed.
Flake the mackerel fillet and add this to the pan along with a knob of butter when you're onto your last ladle of stock. Once the last ladle of stock is absorbed take the pan off the heat and add the clotted cream and the juice of half a lemon.
Now the risotto is done serve in a bowl and garnish with a quarter wedge of lemon and some pea shoots on top.

I've never made a risotto before this one as I always assumed it would be difficult but this was a really easy dish to make and was delicious. Let me know what you think.



When I made this I did a live cook-a-long on snapchat. Here is the video:



If your on snapchat you can follow me at big-steviecool and you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Thursday, 15 September 2016

Top 5 Cartoons 2016

When I was a kid TV was amazing. I've already written a piece about my favourite TV from the 80's here. In the 90's and the 00's kids TV became a bit, meh! There was the odd good show like Johnny Bravo or Ben and Holly's little kingdom but most of the cartoons were pretty forgettable. Being a big kid at heart I still watch cartoons now and I have a great excuse in the form of 3 kids of my own so I can watch all the animated silliness I want.

Something I've noticed about a lot of cartoons these days is how surreal they are, luckily I love surrealist comedy some of my favourite comedies are Monty Python, The Young Ones and The Mighty Boosh and I think the makers of these cartoons share my sense of humour. So, I've decided to list the Top 5 cartoons me (and my kids) watch right now.


5. Adventure Time

Probably the most surreal entry on this list, Adventure Time follows Finn the Human and Jake the Dog as they live their lives in the Land of Ooo. Finn is courageous and Jake is a layabout but both are hilarious. They always have some random quest and usually have to rescue Princess Bubblegum and regularly have to defeat the Ice King.



4. Star Vs The Forces of Evil

This one is fairly new but it's becoming one of my favourites. Star is a foreign exchange student from another dimension. She lives with Marco Diaz and his family as she goes to school in Echo Creek. Star is a Magical princess in her own dimension and has a magic wand with her when she arrives on Earth. The show revolves around Star and Marco keeping earth safe from all the forces of evil that have come from Star's dimension to try and get her wand.



3. Gravity Falls

This is also a new one as we only started watching it a few months ago but it is brilliant. Gravity Falls tells the story of twins Mabel and Dipper Pines as they spend summer vacation with their Grunkle (great-uncle) Stan at his tourist trap called the Mystery Shack in the town of Gravity Falls. A lot of weird stuff goes on in town and when Dipper finds a mysterious Journal in the forrest he and Mabel try to solve the local mysteries .



2. Spongebob Squarpants

Who doesn't love Spongebob. This has been a favourite in our house for a long time. Spongebob Squarepants is a Sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. He has adventures with his friend Patrick the Starfish. He works at the Krusty Krab for Mr Krab a money obsessed crab and is a constant annoyance to his neighbour and workmate Squidward (who is actually an Octopus).



1. Phineas and Ferb

Although we watch all of the cartoons in this list, the one we watch the most and everybody's favourite is Phineas and Ferb. This is the story of brothers Phineas and Ferb who build elaborate inventions in an effort to pass the time of summer vacation, their sister Candice is always trying to bust them and get them into trouble with their mam. A side plot that usually interacts with the main plot is that the boys have a pet platypus called Perry who is really a secret agent called Perry the Platypus and he is trying to stop the Evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz who is always trying to take over the Tri-State Area.


Do you still watch cartoons? What are your favourites? Is it weird for a grown man to still love cartoons?

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Monday, 12 September 2016

Monday Munchies: Fillet Steak with Beetroot Salad and Homemade Beetroot Crisps

This delicious summer salad should be served cool. If you like steak but don't want a meal that is too heavy this is a tasty alternative to the usual steak n chips.

Ingredients:

2 fillet steaks
2 beetroots
1 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tsp creamed horseradish
1 tsp chopped taragon
1 tsp chopped chives
5 shallots
1 bag of salad leaves.
1 tbsp vinegar (either red wine or balsamic)
vegetable oil

The Method:

Start by putting a wide based pan on a high heat and fill with around 2.5cm of vegetable oil. Next slice one of the beetroots into rounds, I used a mandolin on the lowest setting the get super thin slices. Place these on some kitchen roll on a baking tray and dab with another sheet of kitchen roll until dry (these will be used to make your crisps at the end).
Next put a griddle pan on a high heat, coat your steaks in oil and season with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot put the steaks in and cook for only 1 minute on each side, once done remove from the heat and leave to rest on a plate.
While the steaks rest turn the heat down to medium on the griddle pan. Peel the shallots and chop them in half lengthways. Cook in the griddle pan with a little oil and cook for around 10 minutes until they have softened and are slightly charred.
By now the pan of vegetable oil should be hot enough to cook your crisps, do them in batches of around 6 slices a time and put each batch onto a sheet of kitchen roll to drain off any excess oil.
Peel the 2nd beetroot and chop this julienne and put in a bowl with the salad leaves and shallots. Mix the vinegar and 3 tbsp of oil to make a dressing and toss this with the salad. By now your steak should be suitably rested and cooled so slice with a sharp knife into thin slices.
Mix the creme fraiche, horseradish, tarragon and chives in a bowl and spoon a little bit onto each slice of steak and then scatter the beetroot crisps over the salad and you're done.
Let me know what you think of this recipe and what your favourite salads are.

I'm linking this recipe to 'Simple and in Season' recipe link up with Feeding Boys. It was inspired by this BBC Good Food Recipe.

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Re-watching Blazing Saddles

Last week we lost one of the greatest comedic actors of all time, Gene Wilder. To remember what a comedy genius he was I decided to watch one of my favourite films of his, Blazing Saddles.
The story of Bart (played by Cleavon Little), a poor black man working on the railroad who, after an altercation with the railroad boss called Taggart (who is played by the brilliantly named Slim Pickens), is sentenced to be hanged. However he is given a stay of execution when a corrupt Attourney General, Hedley Lamarr (that's HEDLEY) manipulates a gullible Governor (Mel Brooks) into appointing Bart to be the first black sheriff of a town called Rock Ridge. Hedley's plan is that the black sheriff will make the people of Rock Ridge leave town so that his rail road can go through where the town once stood.
Bart
After a Bart arrives in Rock Ridge he is not welcomed with open arms by the townsfolk and he hilariously gets away from the mob and makes his way to the jail. At the jail Bart meets Gene Wilders character Jim (we have to wait over half an hour before Wilder appears). Jim, once known as The Waco Kid is a drunk former gunslinger who quickly becomes Bart's only friend in town.
Jim, The Waco Kid
After Hedley Lamarr finds out that the people of Rock Ridge have not yet killed the new sheriff he decides to get Taggart and his band of men to ransack the town. One of the most memorable scenes in the the film is when Taggart's men are sitting around the fire eating beans. Taggart decides to send his intimidating but dimwitted crony, Mongo, into town. All of the townsfolk are scared of Mongo and beg Bart to help get rid of him. Bart comes up with a plan to defeat Mongo that comes straight out of Looney Tunes by using exploding candy. After using Mongo failed Taggart and Lamarr come of with a new plan to get as many bad guys, outlaws and desperados together to run everyone out of town.
Taggart and Hedley Lamarr
"Never mind that shit, Here comes Mongo!"
Bart and Jim come up with a plan to construct a fake town and when the bad guys run into town the blow it up with dynamite. After the explosion a mass brawl breaks out and what happens next is the silliest, stupidest, nonsensical, comedic 20 minutes in cinema history.  The brawl breaks out of the movie lot the film is being made at and into the next studio. It is utterly ridiculous (and hilarious), the cameo by Dom DeLuise is brilliant (as all cameos by Dom DeLuise are). The fighting then breaks into the Hollywood caffeteria where actors from different films are having their lunch. Mel Brooks not content with breaking the forth wall, then breaks the fifth wall (if that's possible) as Bart defeats Hedley Lamarr outside the theatre Blazing Saddles is being shown at and then Bart and Jim go in to watch the end of the film.

 Blazing Saddles is one of the greatest comedy, neh, greatest films of all time. Gene Wilder is brilliant and as with all of his performances there is slight sinister edge to his comedy.

Well, that's all for now.

S

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