Back to school – ‘I didn’t think it was physically possible but this both sucks and blows’.

A quote from Bart Simpson up there in the header.

The holiday season is over. For some six weeks I’ve been able to get to work in 20 minutes but now it’s all come to an end. I will remember those halcyon days of August, where it was just me, a couple of BMWs and a handful of white vans, with a nostalgic glow.

Now it’s all 4X4s, SUVs, buses and children throwing themselves under the wheels of my car in a desperate attempt to put off the inevitability of maths and P.E (P.E. Even now that acronym sends shivers down my spine).

Never mind. What lies at the end of the drive in the morning doesn’t change whether it takes twenty minutes or an hour and a half.

Some weeks ago I reported on the fatberg that had evolved within the sewers outside our office. And guess what. They are still ‘fixing’ it. I use that term loosely; we often stare out the office windows watching the ‘fixers’ sitting in their van drinking tea and reading The Sun.

Sometimes they all stand round watching one team member shoving a bit of gravel around with a spade. Their productivity both sucks and blows, which, as Bart Simpson pointed out, should be a physical impossibility. And of course my productivity suffers while I stand there doing nothing, watching them doing nothing. It’s all very Kafkaesque (no I don’t really know what I mean by that, and no I don’t give a monkey’s either).

But, at the end of the day, I get to go home – to the wife, a nice glass of wine and an endless landscape of culinary possibilities (oh, and the bloody X trainer too; I’ve finally given in to the notion that losing weight is easier if you move around a bit).


So the other evening I winged it on Pork Steaks with Apple and Cider. You will need:


  • 2 pork steaks on the bone
  • 2 eating apples
  • 12 shallots
  • Bunch fresh sage
  • Bottle cider
  • Good dash cider vinegar
  • English Mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cashew nuts

To serve

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

First rub the pork with olive oil and season well.


Fry the steaks in a Dutch oven for a few mins either side to seal. Set aside.


Peel the onions but leave the bottoms of each intact (this will prevent them falling apart in the oven).

Fry the onions in the pot and then add the apple, chopped up. Return the steaks to the pot. Spread the mustard over them, add the sage leaves and pour in the cider and cider vinegar.


Put in the oven at 160 Centigrade for 1 ½ hours.

Remove the steaks from the pot and wrap in foil to keep warm.


Bring the pot to the boil to reduce and thicken the sauce.


Toast the cashew nuts in the oven. Watch those little buggers. The first batch burned so I chucked them in a bin bag and they melted straight through – terrible mess.


Make some mash and plate up!

Plonk some of the mash in a big pasta-type bowl. Place a steak on top. Arrange some of the onions and apple around the mash and then pour over the sauce. Sprinkle some of the nuts on top. Serve!


Intense but not overpowering flavours, I stuffed all of it. Naturally.


18 thoughts on “Back to school – ‘I didn’t think it was physically possible but this both sucks and blows’.

  1. I hope you’ll continue with regular updates on the fatberg. Your pork chops look spectacular, especially the last image with a morsel resting on the fork. The only thing missing is a pic of the glass of wine.

  2. Ah, we’ve had the same here with traffic but what I don’t understand is, if the economy’s so lousy & nobody has jobs – then where’s everyone going?
    What are they waiting for with that fatberg thing? Maybe they’re hoping it’ll grow legs & walk away on its own. At least it does give you a diversion at work.
    Love those pork chops – I’ve done them before with apples & apple cider but never thought to add the cashews – definitely doing that next time.

    • Your point is totally valid. Where the hell is everyone going. This morning a woman in a mini drove straight into the back of me. She was hanging on my rear fender (see I’m being trans-atlantic – over here we call it a bumper) and I thought to myself ‘if I have to brake she’ll smack straight up my arse’ and guess what, i had to break and she went straight into me. She’s all ‘oh, dear are you okay? I’m so sorry’ and I’m all ‘see? if you drive 2 inches off my rear end this is what happens’ she didnt have a clue. fortunately my car was made by German supermen so it kind of bounced off

      • We’re okay with either fenders or bumpers here – I call them bumpers but that could be a Boston thing. We’ve got those little kiddie rides that are called bumper cars & it sounds like you have the same thing except with real cars on your roads. I always get nervous when I look in my rearview mirror & can see the person’s nose hairs – that’s usually an indication that they’re too close. Depending on how hard she hit you, you might want to open your trunk – nah, I’ll go trans-atlantic & say your boot (is that right?). Reason being, I got rear ended once & my bumper looked fine only to find out too late that the bumper’s made to take the impact by crumping the area in the trunk. I’m so glad she was all sorry about it though.

  3. Love it! See now, I’ve gone the other way. I loved PE as a kid, but now am sick of friends family and, yes, even my wife jogging about in circles and doing 10K runs. I’m now a regular with on Just Giving’s website.
    In terms of the poor swines working on ‘Fatberg’, they do at least serve to remind you that now matter how bad your day, it’s not THAT bad.
    Lovely looking pork dish too, just my sort of thing.

    • We were watching the progress on the fatberg debacle today – there wasnt one single person woring on it at 5pm. No one there on a massive work site in the middle of a main road into London. Not even one bloke with a hard hat and a copy of The Sun to read. This country generally, when all is said and one, takes the piss

  4. Ugh. The dreaded back to school traffic! Who am I kidding, I live in a tiny town and it normally takes 5 minutes to get to work, now it takes 7….actually 9, we have construction going on downtown too.
    Watch out for those hot nuts! They’ll burn a hole through anything. I have a good melting story for ya. When my husband and I were first dating I decided to woo him by making him his favourite dinner – spaghetti and meatballs (the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach, right?!). I was showing off my culinary skills, blabbing away to him, and began straining the pasta in a plastic strainer, then set it on top of the HOT pot it was just in and served up dinner. Needles to say the stench of burning plastic quickly filled the room and I had melted that poor strainer to the pot. On a side note my roommate at the time was an actual restaurant chef, and it was one of his VERY expensive, high-end, fancy, chef pots that cost me half a month’s rent to replace.
    Thankfully my husband looked past all that and still married me – phew! I think he would be wooed with this dish too!!!

    • That’s a very good story – and when my wife first came round my house I made dinner. I didn’t really know what I was doing I was in a panic. So I made stir fry. And served it with salad. I don’t know why I did that, I mean you just don’t eat stir fry with salad do you? Mind you she must have liked it because she still said yes when I proposed (about 3 years later)

  5. Yum oh yum oh yum! This looks exactly the sort of thing I like – genius to have the whole small onions – and the cashews, great idea (had to LOL at the melting bin!) Does the sauce/gravy/juice need skimming before you reduce – does it get fatty from the pork?

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