After what seems like only 20 minutes, the football season is upon us again.
As a kid growing up the summer seemed to drag on forever with no football, and as I grew up in England I had to endure boring cricket and tennis on the telly. These days with the advent of the web and satellite television it seems like it never goes away (well, that’s what my wife says anyway).
My boys Birmingham City are back in the big time again, well for a season at least!
We seem to be a yo-yo team these days but our recent performance against the champions Manchester United has given me some heart. I was expecting a real tanking but to lose 1-0 at Old Trafford is practically a victory for us. The last time we beat United at Old Trafford I was 10-years-old so I wasn’t really entertaining any thoughts of a different result.
The other team in the city of Manchester has spent big, but we know that money doesn’t buy greatness, although it really, really helps. I think they will need time to grow, just as Chelsea did when the Russian geezer came in with his dough.
Arsenal started the season in style by thrashing Everton and of course Chelsea score in the last minute to give them a winning start.
This year it is going to be tight at the top; but I don’t think we will see anyone break up the dominance of the top 4.
I think Manure will miss Ronaldo too much. It is impossible to replace that kind of talent and Nani has some large Nike’s to fill, but you can never write off Sir Alex.
Can Liverpool finally get their elusive Premier League crown? This could be the year.
So here’s where I make my predictions for the final table of the season:
2 Man Utd
5 Man City
8 West Ham
The last game I went to was a couple of seasons ago at White Heart lane to see Spurs thrash my Blues. That wasn’t the worst part. The draught beer was pre-poured and covered in cling film, but I can live with warm flat beer as it is better than no beer.
The worst part was the absence of the traditional pie; they had chicken balti, some arugula and sundried tomato nonsense but no chuffing chicken and mushroom.
I can make my own, you know!
CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PIE
2 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken breasts, skin and bone removed
5½oz button mushrooms, quartered
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ pint milk
7fl oz chicken stock
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
freshly ground white pepper
small handful fresh parsley, chopped
1lb 2oz ready-made short-crust pastry
1 free-range egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400F
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and fry until the chicken begins to turn white.
Add the mushrooms and continue to fry until the chicken is golden-brown.
Remove the chicken and mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the same pan and fry for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside with the chicken and mushrooms.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly until it has formed a thick smooth paste (this is called a roux).
Mix the milk and stock together in a jug, then add the nutmeg, white pepper and salt, to taste. Pour the liquid slowly into the flour mixture, whisking all the time until smooth. Simmer over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Stir in the chopped parsley and pour the sauce over the chicken and mushroom mixture. Mix well, then spoon into a pie dish and leave until completely cool.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is the thickness of a pound coin. Brush the edges of the pie dish with beaten egg, lay the pastry on top, press down the edges and trim. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and cut some leaf shapes out of the left-over pastry to decorate the top of the pie.
Make two or three slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape and then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown on top.
Up the Blues