A Men's Lifestyle and Family Blog | North East England

Monday, 19 December 2016

Monday Munchies: Panetonne French Toast


Christmas is nearly here and that means its time to over indulge. Panetonne just tastes of Christmas, this is a lush breakfast that so easy and very festive. This recipe will make 1 serving.

Ingredients

Panetonne
Egg
Milk
Ground Cinnamon
Maple Syrup


Method

Start by mixing your batter. Add and egg to 40ml of milk and half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and whisk together.


You can make your own panetonne if you want but you can get loads really good ones in the shops. Cut 2 slices and dip into the batter until it soaks in. Be careful with the panetonne at this point as when its soggy it will easily fall apart if you're too rough. Heat a little vegetable oil in a wide pan and once hot add the slices of panetonne. Fry on each side for a couple on minute until golden.


Dust with icing sugar.


Transfer to your plate and drizzle with maple syrup before serving.


What do you like to have for breakfast over Christmas?

Well, that's all for now.

S


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Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 7 "Sing me a song"


From what i've read the relationship between Carl and Negan in the comics is very messed up. This episode showed the first glimpses of that relationship. Carl hates Negan but Negan is impressed with Carl and thinks he's kind of awesome.

Is Negan grooming Carl to try and get him to join the Saviours? What is Rick going to make of this meeting? What will he do when finds out Carl killed a few of The Saviours? Only time will tell.

Well, that's all for now.

S


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Monday, 12 December 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 8 "Hearts still beating"


If i'm brutally honest I've not enjoyed this season as much as I was hoping. The first episode was great but since then it's been downhill. The episode before the mid season break is usually great and this too was a good episode. However,  the fact that for the last few years each season has followed the same formula of a great opening then a few mediocre episodes then another good episode before the break is becomming annoying.

I was glad Spencer got his comeuppance (the slimy git) and Darryl escaped (Yes!) but Carol is still stalling on getting back to her bad ass ways and this is pissing me off. The closing scene was good with Rick getting his Colt Python back was very symbolic of him growing a pair.

Whats going to happen in the 2nd half of the season? Well shit had better go down otherwise I might sack off season 8.

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Monday, 28 November 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 6 "Swear"


If I'm honest, I'd totally forgotten about Tara. I mean she's an ok character, sometimes funny, kinda cool but she's not exactly an essential member of the group. I don't know how many episodes it's been since she was last in but I'm guessing it was before the start of this season as she doesn't seem to know what happened with Alexandria and the Saviours.

I think they're introducing too many new groups now. I've spent 7 seasons rooting for the original group and I'm on board with the Saviours coz Negan is Bad Ass. I also have time for Hilltop coz Jesus is cool and The Kingdom as Ezekiel has a freakin' pet tiger. But now another group I mean, come on! it's too much.

This was definitely a filler episode and it seemed like it was there for no reason but to extend the season. They need to get back to the main story I want to see more of Negan, I want to see Rick get his mojo back, I want to see united Alexandria/Hilltop/Kingdom and I want to see a big show down!

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Monday Munchies: Christmas Mince Pies


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

A few years ago I wouldn't have touched a mince pie, but now they're my favourite Christmas snack. This recipe is for both the mincemeat and the pies themselves. Mincemeat can be made in bulk and used for many different festive recipes. I made 10 pies but I still have loads of mincemeat left over.

Ingredients

For the mincemeat:

175g Raisins
110g Sultanas
110g Currants
110g Mixed candied peel
225g Bramley apples (Cored and chopped)
25g almonds (Sliced)
110g Shredded suet
175g Soft dark brown sugar
Zest and juice of a Lemon
Zest and juice of an Orange
2 tsp Mixed ground spice
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
100ml Amaretto
100ml Dark rum

For the pastry

225g Plain flour
100g Butter (cut into cubes)
4-6 tbsp Cold water

Method

The mincemeat is really easy to make, start by adding all the ingredients except the Amaretto and the Rum to a bowl and then mix together. Next transfer the mix to a pan and simmer on a medium heat for around 10 minutes. Leave it to cool and then add the alcohol and leave it to soak in, once the alcohol has been absorbed you can then transfer the finished mincemeat into a sterile jar and it will keep for ages.


The pastry is also easy to make, especially if you have a food mixer. Add the butter to the flour and rub with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Next add the water a tablespoon at a time while mix until it forms a ball of dough.


Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Roll the dough out to around 3mm thick and cut out your shapes. Add the bottom of the pie to a greased pie mould (make sure there's no air trapped under the dough). Spoon in some of the mincemeat and add the top of the pie. Seal the top and bottom of the pie together with a beaten egg and brush the top of the pie with an egg too to make sure it goes golden in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes at around 200ºc, once done leave to cool on a rack and then dust with icing sugar.



Here is a step by step video I made for this recipe.



What are your favourite Christmas treats? Do you have any ideas for what I can do with my left over mincemeat?


Well, that's all for now.

S

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Monday, 21 November 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 5 "Go Getters"


As much as The Saviours are the bad guys I do like Simon, maybe it's because Steven Ogg who plays him was Trevor in GTA V. His grin is as infectious as a bite from a walker but, man, can he turn sinister when he need to. He is definitely channelling his inner Negan when he is intimidating Gregory in his study.

I'm also really enjoying Jesus right now. The scene when the walkers entered Hilltop shows the boy has some skills. It seems he has kind of coasted though the apocalypse so far but now needs to step up. Although he has only been in a few episodes he is going to become an important character especially when the inevitable rebellion against Negan comes.

This episode also shows how strong of a character Maggie is. Having just lost her husband and nearly lost her baby, at deaths door for weeks she is now getting back to her best. After the conversation she has with Sasha and Jesus I think it's obvious that Maggie will become the leader of Hilltop.

Gregory, the current leader of Hilltop, is not a good leader, he is a coward and only really has his own interests at heart. His face when he realised he had lost his Scotch when he tried to sell out Maggie and Sasha was priceless. Once Maggie usurps his position he will not hesitate to sell everyone out toNegan.

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Westworld Mid-season review


We're only halfway through the first season of Westworld and it is already fast becoming my new favourite TV show (at least until Game of Thrones returns).  There is a lot going on with so many characters and different storyline it can be hard to keep track of what's happening but here's a little recap.


Lets start with Robert Ford. Anthony Hopkins is an amazing actor and here he plays the enigmatic creator of Westworld to his malevolent best. Ford has big plans for Westworld but is not letting anyone know his end game. Like Machiavelli he is pulling all the strings and even the board don't know what he is planning. He is a proper bastard.


Bernard, poor Bernard. Grieving the loss of his son and having an affair with his boss. Then he tries to cover up a mistake he thinks his mentor (Robert Ford) has made with an update to the hosts program only to be blamed for the mistake himself. But the reveal in episode 7 was a real shocker. Here was my reaction on twitter.


The storyline i'm loving at the minute is what's happening with Maeve. The brothel madam who, as a host, should not know about the real world but after being 'killed' and repaired so many is now fully self-aware and forcing two Westworld techs to upgrade her program. I'm really looking forward to how she is going to try and get out of Westworld.


The main story is the mysterious maze. Delores, the oldest of the hosts, has been hearing voices calling her to the maze. and now with William in tow it seems like she will get there. But then you also have the Man in Black who has been coming to Westworld for years and is obsessed with finding the maze. A theory that me and a friend have been discussing is that the Delores/William story and the Man in Black story are taking place in two different time lines and that The Man in Black is actually William in the future and that he is trying to find the maze so he can free Delores from Westworld. This may not be what happens but as with all of the stories going on I can't wait to see what happens.



Well, that's all for now.

S

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Monday, 14 November 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 4 "Service"


This is a great Negan episode. There is no mistaking that he is the Boss, he has wrestled from Abraham (well not so much wrestled) the title of the king of the one liners. The charismatic leader of the Saviours has well and truly broken Rick even getting him to carry Lucille around for him knowing that he won't use her. A few of the other aren't on board yet, Michonne is defiant, Rosita has a gun stashed away and Carl is still being a prick. But Rick, Negan has him in his pocket, so the rest will soon fall into line. I still have faith in Rick that he will grow a pair and eventually rise up against Negan but it's going to be a tense season until Rick snaps.

Negan is great and all but the rest of the Saviours are a right bunch of bastards. I've said a few times what a dick Dwight is and the others taking the stuff from Alexandria and then burning and dumping some of it shows what scumbags they are. Also another dick is Spencer and it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't jump ship to the Saviours.

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Thursday, 10 November 2016

An afternoon at Jesmond Dene House

It was mine and Mrs Cool's 10th wedding anniversary, we were staying at Jesmond Dene House and having a meal. JDH is an amazing place to stay and has some of the best food I've had in the North East. But I was in a bit of a dilemma about what to wear, It's quite fancy so I was planning on wearing my suit (you can read about my suit here) but I really wanted to be a bit more smart/casual.



So when I was contacted by Jacamo to try their mens suits I decided to choose an outfit for our Anniversary date night. I love a Polo shirt and they very much my go to shirt at the moment so I decided on this burgundy polo shirt and styled with with a navy blazer, some plain blue jeans and brown cuban heeled boots.


We arrived at Jesmond Dene House and checked into our room. We had a look around our room (which was an amazing suite). and put away our luggage.


I have recently become a convert to coffee, so we decided to head down to the lounge and had a cafetiere of coffee by the fire place while we caught up on reading our latest books (I'm currently reading Lord of the Flies).


When we were finished our coffees we headed back to our room to freshen up before heading down for our meal (you can see photos of our meal on my instagram feed here). The outfit I chose was perfect for our afternoon, it was very comfortable and even though we were sat next to a fire I wasn't too hot.


 Well, that's all for now.

S


Disclosure: I was sent these items by Jacamo in return for an honest review
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Monday, 7 November 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 3 "The Cell"



The general consenus on last weeks episode is that it was a disappointment. Personally I liked it as we need some lighter, less full on episodes. This weeks episode was back to the tension of the saviours camp. Seeing Darryl in the situation he was in being being tortured/conditioned like a GitMo inmate is hard to watch and the fact that Dwight is the one doing it is really fucking annoying.

Dwight is such a dick, you know he's been through a lot to get to where he is in Negan's crew but he's still a dick and I hope he gets done in before the end of the series. Mrs Cool thinks Dwight will have redemption and team up with Darryl in some way.

Negan is brilliantly menacing whenever he is on screen but he won't break Darryl, they might think he has but he won't.

Well, that's all for now.

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Monday Munchies: Lamb Casserole with Thyme Dumplings


I've mentioned a few time how Sunday dinner is one of my favourite meals. Not just for the meal itself but also as a time when the family comes together for a meal. I work most nights until 8pm so by the time I get home the kids have already had their dinner (and are usually in bed) so it's nice to have a catch up over the dinner table.

This week with the clocks going back I decided to use the extra hour to get up early and set the slow cooker away for a warming autumnal casserole.

Ingredients

600g Diced Lamb
3 Carrots
1 Leek
1 Onion
200g Frozen peas
Maris piper potatoes
Thyme
Flat leaf parsley
450ml Lamb stock
100g Self raising flour
50g Beef suet
Salt
Pepper

Method

Start by putting the slow cooker on high temperature and put in a little bit of the stock (enough to cover the bottom of the cooker). In a frying pan heat some oil and brown the lamb, once coloured but not cooked transfer to the slow cooker.

Next peel and finely dice the onion, in the same pan as the lamb fry the onion until translucent and then use a little more stock to deglaze the pan and add this to the lamb in the slow cooker.


Peel and cut the carrots into chunks and add them to the slow cooker. Finely cut the parsley and add to the cooker, put in a few springs of thyme (you can leave the stalks but remember to take them out when ready to serve). Remove the outer layer of the leek and chop in half, cut the top half of the leek in half lengthways and cut into slices around half a centimeter thick and add to the cooker, then top up the cooker with the rest of the stock and just leave it for a few hours.


When you have about an hour to go until you serve, peel and quarter the potatoes and boil them for about 8-10 minutes. In a roasting tin heat some oil (or goose fat if you prefer), once hot add to potatoes and make sure they're all coated and cook for 45 minutes at 200ºc (make sure you turn them a few times during cooking).

Now it's time to make the dumplings, add the flour, suet, a pinch of salt, black pepper and chopped thyme together and mix with 5-6 tablespoons of water and mix into a dough. This mix will make 8 small dumpling but you can divide them as you need.


Add the frozen peas to the slow cooker and mix (if your gravy is a little watery you can thicken it by mixing in a paste made from flour and water) then place the dumplings on top and cover for the remaining 30 minutes.


Once done remove the dumplings and set aside, taste the casserole and season if necessary, you can also add a knob of butter to add a creamy richness to the sauce. Plate up with the roast potatoes and I also sauted the left over leek cut into rounds with some sliced garlic.


What do you think of my casserole. Do you have any slow cooker dishes you like?

Well, that's all for now.

S

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Monday, 31 October 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 2 "The Well"



After the trauma of episode 1 we needed some respite from the brutal onslaught of Negan and the Saviours. Before the trailers landed for season 7 I hadn't heard of The Kingdom or King Ezekiel but after seeing him on his throne with his tiger Shiva by his side I was looking forward to his introduction.

I thought this episode was great for showing the juxtaposition between Carole and Morgan. Morgan ever the optimist see the good in The Kingdom and want to ingratiate himself to be as helpful as he can. Then Carole always the skeptic doesn't buy it and thinks King Ezekiel and the rest of the Kingdom are living on cloud coo coo land.

I like both Carole and Morgan and I get the feeling that they will be helping King Ezekiel try to free the Kingdom from Negan's grip and in turn the Kingdom will help the rest of the Alexandria group get revenge on The Saviors.

Whatever happens it is building up to a showdown of epic proportions.

Well, That's all for now.

S

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Monday Munchies: Simple Steak Sandwich


You can't go wrong with a steak sandwich. You can customise them with as many or as few ingredients as you want. This one is fairy simple and wasn't too expensive as one steak was enough to make 2 sandwiches.

Ingredients

Steak (I used a Rib eye)
2 Ciabatta Buns
Rocket
Tomato
Mayonnaise
Mustard

Method


Start by prepping the steak. Coat the steak in oil and season with salt and black pepper, then put a griddle pan on a high heat (you don't have to put any oil in the pan as you've already oiled the steak). Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side for rare (or 4-5 minutes for medium) and then leave it to rest for a few minutes before slicing into thin slices.


Now to assemble the sandwich, mix the mayonnaise and mustard to make a dressing, cut the bun in half and spread the mayo/mustard on each half. Cover the bottom half of the bun with rocket and sliced tomato and then add the sliced steak. Add the top half of the bund and cut in half diagonally.


Here's a quick step by step video I made as I was making this sandwich.


Well, that's all for now.

S

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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Doctor Strange: A Review


I've just got back from taking my son Harry to see Doctor Strange. I was going into this film a bit blind as I really didn't know anything about the character, my friend Dean said to me when we were talking about movies recently that his only knowledge of Doctor Strange is from the Marvel Top Trumps card game we used to play as kids and in that game Doctor Strange wasn't very good. However, before I went to see Ant-Man I wasn't a massive fan and the same can be said about Ironman but those are 2 of my favourite Marvel films and now 2 of my favourite superheroes.

Is Doctor Strange as good as Ironman or Ant-Man? No, But it is still damn good. I'm a massive fan of Benedict Cumberbatch's work however I did have my reservations about the American accent he would be using, after seeing the trailer it sounded like he was over emphasising his R's like a lot of English actors do when portraying an American. But, after a few minutes into the film I found my initial concerns to be unfounded as I completely bought into the fact that he was Stephen Strange.


Doctor Stephen Strange is a brilliant but arrogant surgeon who after a car accident is left with nerve damage to his hands and his career is over. After he tries all types of surgery in western medicine and is still no closer to getting his hands to stop shaking. So, he heads to Kathmandu for spiritual enlightenment in the hopes a more holistic treatment would yield better results. There he meets Mordo who introduces him to The Sorcerer Supreme known only as the Ancient One. There was a lot of controversy about the casting of Tilda Swinton, a white woman, as the Ancient One, an Asian man but you also have Chiwetel Ejiofor, a black man playing Mordo a white man and no one seemed to mention this, also Marvel have history in changing characters race and sex and as I wasn't familiar with these characters before it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the film..


Another of my favourite actors is Mads Mikkelsen, he was brilliant in Casino Royale and even better in Hannibal. Here he plays the main antagonist Kaecillius, a former student of the Ancient One who has stolen some pages from an old book that'll let him do some mystical stuff and allow the unseen big bad Dormammu to consume the Earth or some bollocks like that.

The entire film is very trippy, the effects are amazing and reminiscent of Inception. The final act of the film reminded me of Guardians of the Galaxy (which is probably what they were trying to do to tie the MCU together) and the acting is all very good. There is a lot of serious faces when they're discussing various magical mumbo jumbo but there is a lot of humour in this film too which is a common theme in MCU. Also, there are a couple of cameos to tie into other marvel films (Stan Lee being one, I won't spoil who the other one is).

Whilst not the best MCU film I really don't have anything bad to say about Doctor Strange it was a solid introduction to a new character and I'm looking forward to see where they go with him and how he will interact with the other Avengers.

Well, that's all for now.

S

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