Apologies to everyone for being missing in action the last couple of weeks. Perhaps it is still the hangover of the big boys’ weekend that I’m suffering from. Two Sundays ago, seven of my closest friends and I decided to go up to Liverpool to celebrate the big Jubilee bank holiday weekend. So even though it was 11 am, as the train pulled out of Euston station, J had cracked open the champagne and the fun began. We giggled our way up to Manchester where we had to change trains with 10 mins to spare. After having a bottle of champagne each, most of us were quite tipsy. So maneuvering Manchester station with champers head and a trolley bag in time to board the world’s smallest train from Manchester up to Liverpool was a sight to be seen.
Our welcome to Liverpool was cold and grey. We had come up from a relatively sunny London to a ridiculously cold and windy Liverpool. It was the champagne that kept us warm as we snaked our way out of the station. Our friend, the 8th member of our gang, JB was flying in from Ireland. He had already checked-in and was waiting to welcome us. JB and I have a funny relationship, as in when we see each other we cannot stop laughing. For some silly reason all we do is set each other off! It’s amazing for us, but for the rest of the group, it’s always annoying!
So that night, while we all got ready for a big night out on the town my husband J and one of the boys decided that they needed to fake tan themselves for the evening. Armed with rubber gloves, they applied ‘Fake-Bake’ all over which made them look more orange than a Tangerine. So, many vodka tonics later, we were all dressed up and good to go for a night out on the town. We walked over to the gay quarter around Stanley street and were welcomed by a friendly drag queen in a green gown and the world’s biggest eyelashes! The first bar we went to was something out of an 80’s horror flick. Apart from the fact that there were only 4 people there, the bar was empty, it stank and the DJ was obsessed with ABBA. At this point, I had an intense urge to use the little boys’ room. So I dashed off with one of our friends B who, by the way, is the hottest policeman I know. While I did my business, B finished up and left. Just at this point a short, bald rough guy walked into the toilets. He looked up at me and shouted “You’re a Paki then aren’t ya?”, in a thick Liverpudlian accent. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, this is how most racist attacks begin. I didn’t have a comeback. I wanted to say ‘Excuse me but you will find I am Indian’ but humour never works with drunken racists. Even worse, B had just left the room, otherwise calling someone a Paki (which is considered a racial slur in the UK) is an offense you can get arrested for. For a moment I thought he was going to bash my head in ! He went on, ‘I’m not being funny but you’re a Paki mate, what are you doing here?’ I smiled, frightened, put my business away and left the toilets, ran to where the gang was and told them what happened.
The next few moments were a blur to me. I have not felt so much fear and love at the same time. I have never seen J so angry in my life. I have irritated him and made him angry numerous times over the past six years we have been together. This was more than just anger, this was rage. He and B (the cop) were out in a flash to go ‘sort’ the guy out. Luckily there was no trouble and we left the bar as everyone was too disgusted with what had happened to stay or spend any more money in the place. For me, it was incredible to see my closest friends stand by me and watch my husband, who is usually extremely nonchalant, rise to the occasion to protect me. The rest of the evening was incredible. We ended up in one of Liverpool’s best clubs, G-bar, and danced the night away till the wee hours of the morning. I guess, I always know that no matter what, my boys will always be there for me.
To say thank you, the next day, I whipped up some pork schnitzels as a big lunch to help with everyone’s hangovers (yes there was a supermarket nearby!). Needless to say, we had them with bloody Mary’s at midday. What a fun weekend! God save the Queen!
Spicy Pork Schnitzels with garlic steamed vegetables
For the schnitzels you will need:
8 pork fillets or if you don’t eat pork, 8 chicken breasts
2 cups flour
3 cups breadcrumbs
1 tbsp Paprika
4 cloves of garlic crushed and finely chopped.
1 cube chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for shallow frying
For the vegetables you will need
1 head of broccolli
2 cups of peas
1 tbsp butter
4 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the meat on a chopping board (spread them out separately) and cover with cling film. Then using a mallet (or if you don’t have a meat mallet, use a rolling pin) and bash them to flatten them. Get 3 separate bowls and place the eggs (beaten), flour and breadcrumbs each in separate bowls. Mix the stock cube and paprika with the eggs, season the flour and mix the chopped garlic with the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a frying pan and while the oil is heating up place your ingredients in the following order from the frying pan (there is a reason to this and I will explain)
1. Pan 2. Breadcrumbs 3. Flour 4. Eggs 5. Meat
When the oil is hot, (you have to be quick) dunk each individual pork fillet (one at a time) in the beaten eggs, then roll it around the flour till fully covered, same with the bread crumbs and place it in the hot oil. If you have a big enough frying pan you should be able to do all. Turn the heat down to medium (or the bread and flour will burn and the meat will not cook). Now you can understand my logic of placing the ingredients in that order. It works very well like a mini assembly line. Fry them till they are golden brown, turning every few minutes. It should take about 10 – 15 minutes to cook fully. If this is the first time you are making schnitzel, I suggest you cut one open to check that it is not pink inside. As you make this a number of times you will get used to the timings.
Before you start all the excitement with the schnitzels, place all the vegetables in a steamer and start steaming. If you don’t have a steamer, you can improvise one with a colander and a big soup dish. Heat the water in the pot and place the vegetables in colander. Cover the vegetables and the water will steam through. Steam for about 15 mins, then place in a big dish with butter and seasoning and garlic and mix well.