Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Boy Done Good.

Mr PBBB went to Brussels yesterday.  We all know what happened last time he went.  Yes, that's right, Brussels had 'run out of chocolate' and he brought me back a red pointy hat with a bell on it as a present.

So scathing was my reaction that this time he seems to have phoned in advance to double-check on the chocolate thing.

And he went not to any old sweetie shop but to Valrhona, King of Chocolate.  A whole goody bag stuffed full of les grandes crus chocolates.  Blocks of intense, powerful dark single estate Manjari, Tainori, Albinao and Guanaja, a box of assorted chocolatey delights and some decadent chocolate sauce.

His other bags are clanking suspiciously but I've pretended I can't hear. He's in the good books for the rest of the week.  Well, until Friday.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Writer Injured in Beer-Related Knife Attack!

If I was a log-keeping sort of person, yesterday I would have been able to log our first beer-related injury of 2010.  I aspire to be a person who keeps logs - I might make it a Newish Year Resolution.  My friend Mike has a log of all the books he's ever read which I think is a very good idea. Another friend Ann has a Book of Doom in which she writes all the transgressions - real or perceived - of her husband, Just In Case She Needs It.  It's quite a big book.

A log of drink-related injuries would be incredibly useful.  I could send it, for instance, to the people who compile all the dodgy statistics about the impact of binge drinking.  Because yesterday's incident was actually caused by them, not by alcohol itself, but more of that later.

We don't actually need alcohol to sustain many of the injuries at Beer Towers.  Mr PBBB is frequently shouting 'What now?' in response to a yell / squeak from another part of the house.  Usually it's something like smacking myself on the side of the head with my hairdryer or poking a mascara wand into my eye, but sometimes it's a spectacular smashing of my elbow into a singularly unhelpful piece of architraving or the ripping off of two fingernails trying to open the back door to let Captain out to pee.

I have to admit that not all of my injuries are sustained on the proverbial wagon.  There was the time I came back from holiday with a bruise on my arse so lurid that it apparently 'looked as though I'd sat in a punnet of blackberries'. If memory serves me right, that was thanks to a particularly toxic series of cocktails in a bar in Greece and my subsequent descent down a flight of concrete stairs with an amply cushioned but painful landing.  Then there was the Sambuca stigmata (easy to do if you haven't read the instructions), the dislocated toe (showing off by kicking a wheel, as you do), the traumatised cocyx (doing the can-can with both legs at the same time - people in Bristol still talk about it), a broken toe (dropping a particularly heavy glass on it whilst trying to drink some water to prevent a hangover - there's no justice) and a black eye sustained when I ran into someone's benignly outstretched fist during a fire alarm.

Reading back over this catalogue of disasters, I'm slightly surprised that a) I'm still alive and b) I haven't been tempted to seriously worry about my drinking and get my sorry (and bruised) arse off to an AA meeting, but there you go.  If the options were sensible abstinence or occasional memorable days lost in a mad, laughing, sociable, alcohol-fuelled ruckus with the occasional battle-scar, I'd choose the latter every time.

Anyway, back to the point.  Yesterday, STONE COLD SOBER, Mr PBBB sliced a big chunk of his finger and nail bed completely off.  Claret everywhere.  And it was all the result of a particularly irritating article about beer he'd been reading.  He was so incensed that he stormed downstairs to make a salad with the very expensive, desperately sharp Japanese knives that I'm not allowed to use without washing and drying them INSTANTLY. He banged open the fridge door, still muttering under his breath about the beer thing, threw down the spring onions onto the chopping block and decided that this was the perfect moment to try out some fancy new chopping skills.  It was still bleeding 3 hours later, but as he's from Barnsley he toughed it out with a sticking plaster.

So there you have it.  A completely sober drinking accident, thanks to the wankers with the dodgy statistics.  They should be ashamed of themselves.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


Well that was a doddle. Only 3 days in and it looks as though the no wheat / dairy / alcohol / caffeine / sugar / red meat regime is working a treat (see below).  I also seem to have had my belly-button pierced which is strange, as I've always thought it was a bit chavvy.

Oh if only things were that simple.  With the Wii Fit still in its cellophane wrapper and my appointment with the chiropractor cancelled thanks to the snow, things have been a bit static at Beer Towers this week.

However we've been eating like detox vegan kings. This week we've had spicy split-pea soup (velvety and delicious), Lentil Shepherd's Pie (rich and satisfying) and Pete's Special Soup (we never ask about the ingredients - some things are best kept secret).

Today I continue my quest to cross Gillian McKeith with Fanny Cradock *shudder* and I've made the unlikely sounding delight of Cabbage and White Bean Soup. It's bloody lovely, even though it sounds like something they'd serve at a workhouse.  I urge you to try it:

Delicious & Healthy Cabbage & White Bean Soup
Finely slice 1 onion, 2 celery stalks and a whole white cabbage.  Put in a saucepan with a stock cube (I used a vegetable stock one but you could use chicken) and 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder (mine's a Marigold one - most health food shops and probably better supermarkets sell them).  Cover with water, bring to boil then simmer for 30-40 mins under all nice and tender. Add 1 tin of butter beans (drained), simmer for another 10 mins. Whizz with hand-held or food processor. If you can be arsed, sprinkle some parsley and fresh peas. If not, tuck in straight away. Mmm.  Feel that goodness coursing around your body. Hubba.

(Serves 4, courtesy of Gillian Bloody McKeith)

And no, we don't need a beer to match with it, but thanks for asking.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Wii Fat

There's no avoiding it.  2009, a year of book launches, comfort eating and trying to make a dent in Mr PBBB's beer cellar has had a supernatural effect on my wardrobe. All my clothes have shrunk. Even my magic pants.  Usually, wardrobe malfunctions are handled entirely by Mr PBBB who in the past has put both a silk chiffon beaded dress and a brand new set of Agent Provocateur bra and knickers in a hot wash. I was understandably more upset about the dress, Mr PBBB about the smalls.

This Christmas our present to ourselves was a Wii Fit. So far, Mr PBBB has managed to get Barnsley into the Pro Evolution Soccer play-offs by buying both Thierry Henry AND Wayne Rooney without actually breaking a sweat. Call me old-fashioned, but I suspect we have to physically unwrap and install the Fit software then actually USE IT (more than once) in order for it to have any real effect.

Tomorrow is the first day of our month-long detox.  It's the full bells and whistles one - no wheat, dairy, sugar, red meat, caffeine or alcohol.  And for every expert that says there's no point doing one, the benefits tell another story. We sleep better, wake refreshed and raring to go, any lingering eczema I have (*nice*) vanishes within days AND we lose on average between 7-12lbs each. Yawn.

To celebrate the last day of hedonistic living, we're having the best breakfast in the whole wide world. Smoked (spicy) sausage sandwiches (from a Welsh smokery) in freshly baked white bread (from the bagel shop round the corner) with brown sauce (from the Houses of Parliament).

I suspect that we're not going to a) create a decent meal from or b) actually get through the cheese-mountain, 6 mini mince pies, 3 yoghurts, remnants of sherry, couple of glasses of Baileys and half a bottle of very expensive red wine, 2 large bags of sea salt and balsamic vinegar crisps, what's left of the festive ham and the chocolate Scrabble game, but we'll give it our best shot.

Tomorrow we'll be busting out the quinoa, concocting bean stews, tofu stir-fries and pretending we quite like corn pasta, but today, it's sausages, beer and chocolate all the way...