Food & Adventures

Sunday 31 July 2016

Project Bond: Goldfinger

"Do you expect me to talk?"
"No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!"

Ah, Goldfinger, The first Bond movie I ever saw. I haven't seen this one for about 10 years but, after watching it again, it is still my favourite. The Bond movies came thick and fast in the 60's as this was the third movie released in three years. Sean Connery is back again as 007, it also stars Gert Frobe as the titular Goldfinger.

The film's opening gambit sees Bond arriving at some installation via the sea in a Scuba suit. He has some plastic explosives hidden in his wetsuit and proceeds to strategically place the explosives and set the timer. He then ditches the Scuba gear and has impeccable tuxedo on underneath.

After the bomb goes off Bond makes his exit and the instantly recognisable chords of Shirley Bassey's first foray into bond themes. It is fitting that the best Bond movie would have the most iconic theme. When the film restarts Bond is asked by his old pal from the CIA, Felix Leiter, to look into Auric Goldfinger a suspicious businessman with an obsession for gold.

Goldfinger is on holiday and has been rigging a daily game of bridge with the help of a sultry vixen. Soon Bond discovers the scam, seduces Goldfinger's helper and humiliates Goldfinger. Later that night Bond is attacked in his hotel room and when he wakes up he finds his companion murdered and painted gold in one of the most iconic scenes in cinema.

Bond heads back to MI6 and is told by M that Goldfinger has been smuggling gold around the world and 007 is tasked with trying to find out how he is doing it. Bond gets his classic Aston Martin DB5 from Q for the 1st time who proceeds to show off all of the gadgets. Bond poses as someone trying to sell some Nazi gold and over a round of golf tries to question Goldfinger about his operation. Goldfinger gets annoyed when he loses the game warns bond about interfering in his business again and introduces the first proper henchman of the series, Oddjob, who proceeds to show off his unique weapon of a razor sharp bowler hat.

Bond of course ignores the warning and continues to follow Goldfinger and later discovers he has been melting his gold down and moulding it into car parts and fitting them to his Rolls Royce and this is how he is smuggling gold around the world. Soon Bond is captured (for a super spy he gets captured a lot) and is tied to a gold table to endure an elaborate death via a laser.

After Bond bargains for his life he is rendered unconscious and when he wakes up he is on a plan being piloted by the ridiculously named Pussy Galore (played by Honor Blackman). Bond is taken to a cell while Goldfinger holds a meeting with some mafioso type criminals where he explains his masterplan to steal all of the gold from Fort Knox. Bond escapes from his cell and learns of Goldfinger's plan. He confronts Goldfinger about the various flaws in his plan so Goldfinger reveals his real plan is to detonate a nuclear device inside Fort Knox rendering the US gold reserve worthless and making his own gold supply increase in value. Bond is taken to Fort Knox to be tied to the nuclear device during the final act but the CIA and the army are ready for Goldfinger and a battle ensues and obviously the good guys win.

This is without a doubt the best Bond movie of all. The pace of the movie is perfect, it never feels slow and none of the scenes feel like filler. All of the characters are played brilliantly, the dialogue is great and it includes so many quotable lines. If you are trying to get someone into the James Bond series this is the film to show them, here's the trailer.

Project Bond will return with Thunderball.

Well, that's all for now.



Saturday 30 July 2016

My Ultimate Burger

I love a burger. After trying a few different types I have decided that this is my favourite recipe. I call it the Hotspur Burger named after the Northumberland Nobleman Sir Henry Percy who was known as Harry Hotspur.

The cooking of the burger is fairly straightforward, you start with good steak mince and mould it into a burger patty. I recently bough a burger press and this was the first time I got to try it out and I was really impressed. Once the patties are ready you either put them in the frying pan or (in my case put them under the grill) When it's nearly cooked put a slice of cheese on for the last minute or so, I use Emmental.

All of the effort in this burger is in the assembly. I've decided that all the best burger recipes have to have a Brioche Bun. On the bottom half I put some garlic mayo (or if you have it Aioli). 

The cooked burger patty goes on top.

On top of this goes a spoonful of coleslaw. Any type is fine but if you can make your own slaw even better.

Then on top of this goes a couple of onion rings.

That's the finished burger, I like to serve it with any spare onion rings I've cooked and sweet potato fries and not forgetting a big glass of chocolate milkshake.

Let me know what you think of the Hotspur Burger and please tell me how you like your burgers.

Well, that's all for now.


Recipe | My Ultimate Burger


Friday 29 July 2016

Team GB say thanks to their #superfans

Who can forget how amazing the London 2012 Olympics were, the phenomenal opening ceremony with appearances by Kenneth Brannagh, Mr Bean, James Bond and even The freakin' Queen, the inspirational events on Super Saturday when 12 members of Team GB won gold including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farrah. The whole games made the entire nation proud (Mrs Cool was in tears of pride on Super Saturday). With the Rio 2016 Olympics just around the corner it's time to get behind Team GB again and for us all to become #superfans.

I'm sure you've all heard to stories of how Team GB like to have a good time when they're together (hmm). Well, as a thank you for our support, Team GB have teamed up with Panasonic to create an epic Lip Sync Battle to the song Worship by Years & Years. You can see from the video below that when it comes to having fun Team GB are just as good as they are in the Olympic Arena.

Rio 2016 starts in only a weeks time and from all the #superfans I'd like to wish Team GB good luck, I know they will all do us proud.

Well, that's all for now.


This is a collaborative post.


Sunday 24 July 2016

Child of the 80's: Movies

The 80's was the decade of my birth so obviously I have a soft spot for all things 80's but one thing I think we can all agree on is that the 80's had THE best movies. This was the decade when the traditional summer blockbuster really took off.

Family movies were huge hits in the 80's and are still some of the best movies to watch with your kids. Here are some of my favourites.

The Goonies - 1985

A group of kids in small town America go on an adventure after finding a treasure map in the attic. Avoiding the booby traps and escaping the the evil Fratellis in search of One Eyed Willy's fortune. I've watched this film so many times I could probably quote it word for word but it's still great fun and one of my all time favourite movies. #heyyouguys

Ferris Bueller's day off - 1986

Ferris fakes an illness and has a great day instead of being stuck at school. What kid wouldn't want to watch a movie about tricking your parents into letting you stay home from school and then having fun with your friends. I remember watching this for the first time and wishing Ferris was my friend (I wasn't cool enough to think I could BE Ferris). #saveferris

Back to the Future - 1985

Marty Mcfly goes back in time and meets his parents but in doing so stops them from falling in love, so he has to get them together and find a way to get back home. Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd are both brilliant and the supporting cast are also great playing both teenage kids in the 50's and the grown up versions in the 80's. This is just about the best movie produced in the 80's. #greatscott

Some of the films I love from the 80's were not suitable for kids and I often wonder, as Harry will be turning 10 soon, should I let him watch some of these next films as I definitely watched them when I was younger than him.

Aliens -1986

Probably one of the best sci-fi movies of all time, arguably the best sequel of all time. Aliens is an action packed war movie set on a distant planet. Sigourney Weaver's Ripley returns to LV-426 this time with a squad of Colonial Marines to face off against the titular Xenomorphs. #gameovermangameover

The Terminator - 1984

A cyborg from the future is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the leader of the human resistance to stop him being born. The movie that launched Arnold Schwarzenegger into superstardom, It is his best film and in my opinion this film is superior to it's much acclaimed sequel.  #illbeback

Robocop - 1987

When Officer Alex Murphy is fatally wounded on duty for the Detroit Police Department, he is rebuilt as the future of law enforcement, Robocop. This film was rated 18 when it was released in the UK but I remember having all the toys for it. Now you very rarely get an 18 rated movie these days but I think if you did you wouldn't get a range of toys accompanying it (which is a shame, I think). #idbuythatforadollar

Whilst writing this post I could've listed dozens more films and written 5 or 6 posts so I think I'll definitely revisit this in the future with more of my favourite 80's movies. Let me know what your favourite 80's movies were and what you think of my choices.

Well, that's all for now.



Wednesday 20 July 2016

Dress to Impress

One of Mrs Cool's oldest friends got married recently and as a reward for hitting my first weight loss target I bought a new suit for the big day. I have a few suits already but I've had them a while and they are looking a bit shabby and (as I've lost weight) they are a bit big now. To be honest the suits I have bought in the past have usually been on the cheap side so I decided to treat myself this time and set a budget of £250 to get my new suit.

A few months ago Mrs Cool had a blog assignment Dalton Park which is a retail outlet not far from us. I saw a few suits in a shop called Skopes that I liked so decided to head back to buy my new one. I had already decided on a blue suit as I think this colour is both classic and contemporary the staff at Skopes were really helpful and friendly. The tailor who served me really seemed interested in the wedding I was going to asking about how I knew the couple and where the venue was, I really think this approach to sales is so much better than just the 'Hard Sell' approach.

When it comes to a wedding my opinion is that a man needs to wear a three piece suit, the waistcoat really makes it feel more formal (a tip I picked up from from the tailor who dressed me for my friend Graeme's wedding is that you should never fasten the bottom button of a waistcoat). Also when you need to take your blazer off you still look very smart in a waistcoat. 

When you're wearing a suit this colour then there is only one option for shoes. It has to be brogues and they have to be brown. I had been to a few shops and they all seemed very expensive (£220 in John Lewis) but I managed to find a good pair in Top Man in a sale for only £35 (bargin!).

The best way to make the same suit last for for a lot of different events is with the right accessories. A different shirt and tie can make it look like a new suit. The handkerchief (or pocket square) should fit with the style of the suit but shouldn't be an exact match to the tie. There are loads of combination of tie knots and handkerchief folds. I went for a Hanover knot (here is a easy to follow video to show you how) and a simple straight Handkerchief fold.

This suit, including the shoes, tie and handkerchief, came in at £215 which I though was very reasonable, I was very happy with the quality. It was really comfortable all day and night (even when I was pulling out some killer moves on the dance floor).

The wedding was really great. The bride looked beautiful, the service was lovely and very personal to the happy couple. The grounds were stunning, the meal was delicious and the evening reception was a lot of fun with lots of drinking and dancing.

Thank you and good evening.

Well, that's all for now.



Tuesday 5 July 2016

Y Viva Espańa - Our Family Holiday at Calella De Palafrugell

Calella De Palafrugell, I'd never heard of it either, but me and the family have just come back from our holiday here and it has been the best family holiday we have had. When Mrs Cool told me she had booked us a holiday on a resort located on the Catalonian coast and that we would be travelling there by bus I was reminded of my 1st holiday abroad to Estartit with my Mam, Dad and Sister back in the 80's.

We travelled with Siesta Holidays but the bus we travelled on was nothing like the one I remembered from 1989. Each seat had a TV built into it with with hundreds of movies and TV shows on demand as well as a vast music library which kept the kids (big and small) entertained throughout the mammoth 30 hour journey. There was also food and drinks available to buy as and when you wanted them. I was expecting the food to be poor but it was actually really tasty and Karen, our hostess, was really helpful and friendly.

We left, sleepy-eyed, from Newcastle at 5.30am and travelled though Britain picking up fellow holidaymakers on the way. We travelled into France via the Euro Tunnel (a first for me) and through the Gallic Countryside stopping at various service stations having the odd croissant and coffee. We passed the Pyrenees into Spain and it wasn't long until we arrived at our destination at Camping La Siesta in Calella de Palafrugell.

We were staying in one of those caravan/lodge type things you get at some camp sites. The lodge (as I will call it from now on) was perfect for us. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen/dining area as well as decking outside for some al fresco dining. The site was just a few minutes walk to the beaches.

Although the beach itself was a bit 'stoney' for my liking, the views were fantastic. There were lots of great restaurants right on the beachfront. The 1st night we were there we had tapas at a restaurant called La Vela. We had tomato bread, salt cod fritters, calamari and cheese croquettes all of the food was delicious. The tomato bread tasted so fresh it was like eating a tomato. I think we must have been a bit too excited and hungry as we didn't take any photos of the food but trust me it was all great and after our meal we decided to have a moonlit walk around the town.

Our day at the camp site comprised mainly of a lazy lie in and once everyone was up we would put on our suncream. As a family of gingers we're about as tolerant to sunlight as Count Dracula but on this holiday we used a once a day cream Calypso and my god it was a revelation. We all applied our cream in the morning and that was it, we just had to stay out of the sun for the 1st 15 minutes and then after that we were set for the day. It was water proof too so we didn't even need to re-apply after swimming in the pool. Once we had our cream either me or Mrs Cool would go to the bakery and shop for our brunch which we would have at the lodge. We would usually have croissant, pan aux chocolat, tomato, avocado (obvs), cheese and charcuterie all washed down with fresh squeezed orange juice.

After brunch we would head to the pool which all the kids loved. Harry has recently been having swimming lessons at school and was keen to show off his skills, Heidi was still in water wings but by the end of the holidays she had discarded them and was happily swimming on her own. We got a GoPro a while a go and decided to take it with us for the 1st time. Here's a video we made with the GoPro at the pool.

I think from now on we will be using our GoPro a lot more as it was great fun making this video.

The next town to Calella De Palafrugell is Llafranc so we decided to have a walk along the coast one night and have a meal there. The walk took us about 20 minutes and again there was some great views. I loved all the boast anchored just off the beach, we found Hotel Llevant that also had a nice restaurant. They had a tasting menu that was incredible you can find the menu here.

Another restaurant we tried in Calella De Palafrugell was Sol i Mar which was literally one step off the beach. It was a bit windy that day but we still sat outside and the the kind lady who ran front of house gave our kids some blankets so they didn't get too cold. The view was incredible and the food even better. Mrs Cool had grilled shrimps with garlic and parsley, I had Sossos (whitebait), Harry had a massive portion of calamari and Heidi and Jack had spaghetti.

The view from our table at Sol i Mar
Harry's Calamari
Grilled Shrimp with garlic and parsley
Sossos (whitebait)

On our last night we decided to have out meal at the campsite restaurant. The staff here were always friendly and the food as really good. I always think why do restaurants on resorts like this abroad alway provide such good quality food at a reasonable price when the restaurants you get on British holiday parks always serve utter crap at ridiculous prices? Anyway, the kids had their favourite, chicken nuggets with chips and for some reason spaghetti. Me and Mrs Cool had Paella, I love Paella and had been looking for one since we got there but you always have to have it for a minimum of 2 people, it took me all week to convince Sam to get one and when it came we weren't disappointed we also had a big jug on Sangria (because why not?).

We had such a great time at Camping La Siesta in Calella De Palafrugell and we will definitely be back. We are already planning our next visit in 2 years time. Now I'm back home and melancholy is setting in I am looking forward to my holiday next year which will be in Cuba and I can't freaking wait. I'm looking forward to riding in a 1950's Cadillac around the streets of Havana smoking a fat cigar and drinking lots of Rum. Viva La Revolucion!

Well, that's all for now.


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