I am greeted by the smell of wood polish and mildewed bibles, so familiar to me from many years enduring the indignity of Boys Brigade. I always like to be early, but it has taken all my courage to make it here today, and after a sob in the car park, I have arrived two minutes late. ‘Sorry,’ I mumble, taking a seat, and maintaining eye contact with the floor, where a strip of peeling paint reveals the ghost of a badminton court. ‘Don’t worry,’ a sedated voice drones in monotonous consolation, ‘you are among friends now – we are just introducing ourselves.’
I lift my head, my eyes still puffy and swollen, and stare bleakly around me. Five other damned souls complete the circle, their monochrome lives punctuated by the same nightly fix. The air is heavy with regret, and I unload my own – exposing a chasm, and folding in on myself – wishing I had never started in the first place. It’s too late now, I’ve come too far, I have to let go of this millstone around my neck:
‘My name’s Ruari, and I’ve gone and been right muggy. It’s well snakey of me to come to something like this, but I just don’t know where my head’s at, so I thought it was probably time to crack on. It’s clearly my type of show, on paper, but it’s time to stop being such a melt, and admit that I’m addicted to Love Island.’
We’ve watched every episode of this year’s Love Island so far. That’s 12.5 hours. Whilst that may not seem like a lot, when you consider that we usually manage to watch one hour of TV a day, between dinner and bed (we’re currently being woken up pretty consistently at 5am), this represents 89.3% of our entertainment quota for a fortnight! It’s time to let go. Time to let that villa-full of impossibly toned and implausibly bronzed young men and women slip off into the sea.
We tuned in to the first episode out of curiosity, and it chuntered away in the background whilst I wrote the Chilli post. Every now and then, I’d lift my head to sneer about the inane conversations, or the vacuous contestants. The premise disgusted me, of course. Before long, I was fully absorbed in the overwrought drama of unencumbered libido, and was forcing Cat to keep watching every night.
Now, as I bid farewell to TVs worst, and yet most compelling, show, here are my thoughts:
Adam is a dick. Eyal is a dick. Megan is a dick. I quite liked the wee guy Niall, who left for personal reasons. I don’t think that Laura and Wes will make it. Georgia is pretty nippy. Alex needs to escape and sack the Island off, before Adam and the LADZ fully ruin him. Dani and Jack = goals.
The food – Lucky Peach Economy Noodles
Stir fries are a mainstay of our weekday cooking, and have helped us to pull together a meal in time for Love Island over the past fortnight (classic link, innit). These noodles are great for a quick meal, and they are super-versatile. The recipe comes from Peter Meehan and Lucky Peach’s cookbook 101 Easy Asian Recipes, which I have waxed lyrical about on the blog in the past. I have added bacon, for a bit of smokey depth, but you can really add anything to these, and that is their beauty! Other additions could include:
- meaty fish (like monk fish)
- sliced chicken thighs
- pork belly
- Chinese sausage
- You get the idea…
I used my wok (a carbon steel London Wok Co. round-bottom – about £25) on the BBQ, to get it ripping hot, here, but I used to do this on the stove, and there’s no reason not to. However, if you can be bothered, the BBQ gives an extra bit of smoke, and get’s the wok closer to the temperatures of Chinese kitchen jet engine burners! It’s also a lot of fun. If you get yourself a chimney starter (I’ve written about this here), the charcoal can be lit and ready by the time you prep the veg. Check how red-hot these coals are after 20 mins.
3-4 nests of rice noodles (vermicelli)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
tsp caster sugar
tbsp neutral oil (e.g. groundnut or sunflower)
2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
200g smoked bacon lardons
handful of beansprouts
handful of mange tout
handful of water chestnuts
tsp ground white pepper
- Cook the noodles according to the packet, drain, rinse under cold water, and set aside.
- Mix the sauces and sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.
- Heat the oil in your wok over the highest heat possible, until smoking, and add the garlic, constant pushing the slices around the wok for one minute.
- Throw the bacon in and stirfry for another minute.
- Add in the veg and stirfry for 2 minutes.
- Throw in the noodles, and stir until heated through and coated with sauce.
- Eat, obvs.
As ever, let me know how you got on, and if you had any good ideas for creative ingredients!