Monday, November 12, 2012

Quick and easy recipes for dinner in 10 minutes

If you're ever short on time but need to get dinner on the table, relax. We've come up with four meals that take 10 minutes or less to prepare, perfect for when time is tight.
Chicken Milanesas
Chicken milanesas with salad
Chicken breasts cook quickly - but even quicker when they're sliced in half. Serve with a green salad and lemon wedges for squeezing over. Serves 2.
small handful freshly chopped parsley
55g Panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp plain flour
1 chicken breast, sliced in half along the depth to make two thinner breast steaks
sunflower oil, for frying
sea salt flakes
1. In a shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and parsley. Crack the egg into another bowl and beat. Tip the flour into a third bowl.
2. Season the chicken breast halves with salt. Dip first in the flour, then into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs, pressing them down to coat.
3. Fry the breadcrumbed chicken in the oil, on a medium to high heat, for about 3 minutes on each side. Check the chicken is cooked through completely, scatter with sea salt flakes and serve with the lemon wedges and a salad.
Sea bass fillets with basil and lemon couscous and grilled vine tomatoes
Sea bass with lemon and basil cous cous and grilled vine tomatoes
A healthy supper for two and ready in 10 minutes.
100g couscous
Extra-virgin olive oil (and regular olive oil, for frying)
100g cherry tomatoes on the vine
sea salt flakes
2 boneless sea bass fillets (skin on)
juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp chopped basil leaves
1. Boil the kettle. Tip the couscous into a mixing bowl and drizzle in 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil. Pour the boiling water over the grains until they're just covered, and cover with cling film. Leave to one side.
2. Arrange the vine tomatoes onto a foil-lined grill tray. Season with salt and black pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Slide under a medium grill.
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a wide, non-stick pan. Lay the fillets, skin side down, into the hot pan, and fry for 3 minutes. Gently turn them over and fry for another 2 minutes.
4. Check the couscous - it should now be tender. Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir in the basil. Season the couscous with a little salt and check the fish is cooked through. Serve the fish with the couscous and the tomatoes on the side.
Pappardelle with garlic, parsley and chilli flakes
Pappardelle with chilli flakes garlic parsley
Depending on its shape, dried pasta cooks in about 10-12 minutes. Cut this time in under half by using fresh pasta. Serves 2, generously.
250g fresh pappardelle (or any other fresh pasta shape)
olive oil
quarter of a teaspoon dried chilli flakes
small handful freshly chopped parsley
1 chunky garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Drop the pappardelle into slightly salted water. While it cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the garlic and chilli flakes until aromatic. Keep frying on a low heat and add in the parsley, stirring.
2. Once the pasta is cooked, lift it out with tongs and toss in the frying pan, until coated in the herby oil and flecked with the parsley and chilli. Serve immediately, with grated Parmesan cheese.
Quesadillas and Cheesy Nachos
10 minute quesadillas and cheesy nachos
For a quick, informal snack try these quesadillas, made with tasty Lancashire cheese, chorizo and red onion. Great with a salad or some dips on the side. Makes 6 triangles (enough for 2 servings).
100g Tasty Lancashire cheese (we used Mrs Kirkham's Farmhouse)
1 mild green chilli, sliced
75g tortilla corn chips
2 tortilla wraps
half a small red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
6 slices thinly sliced chorizo


1. Set your oven to 220C. Tip the tortilla chips into a shallow ovenproof dish. Crumble 20g of the Lancashire cheese over the top and scatter over the chilli slices. Slide into the oven.
2. Put a dry, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fill one half of each tortilla wrap with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese, a few red onion slices and 3 chorizo slices. Fold the wraps over and push down to seal. Dry-fry the quesadillas for about 2-3 minutes on each side, and then transfer to a board. Cut each tortilla into three wedges and serve with the nachos, which by now should be warmed and oozy with cheese.
Which meals do you rely on when time is tight?

MTV EMA’s: Kim Kardashian turns up trailing a shredded bin bag, shall we tell her?

Kim Kardashian arrived at tonight's EMA Awards with what appeared to be a shredded bin bag stuck in her skirt.
Kim, you seem to have a bin bag stuck in you knickers. Copyright: [rex]

We can totally see how this happened: Kim was shopping for bin bags in Sainsbury's when she accidentally dropped her list.
Silly Kim.
Kanye West, being the prankster we know he is, cheekily tucked one in her skirt while she was grovelling around on the floor and she ended up trailing it all the way to the EMAs.

Is it any surprise that it managed to get so shredded along the way?
Poor old Kim.
Kim is at the EMA Awards tonight. Copyright: [rex]
Yes, we jest, but we say we can either laugh or cry when it comes to outfits like this and in this case we chose to laugh.
Kim wrote on Twitter earlier: "I'm wearing the coolest Stephane Rolland dress for tonight's MTV Awards! Hope you guys like it!"
And we do kind of love Kim's er, elaborate train, as it most definitely shows she isn't afraid to take fashion risks.
What next? A freezer bag clutch?
However, we are sure our opinion hardly matters to Ms Kardashian. After all, she has just designed a soon to be sell out range for Dorothy Perkins, not us.

Little Mix rip apart X Factor’s Christopher Maloney, say he is a fake

Little Mix have laid into Gary Barlow's last remaining X Factor act, Christopher Maloney, calling him a fake and saying he won't ever be a pop star.
Little Mix are not fans of Chris Maloney. Copyright: [wenn]

Poor old Chris, it seems everyone has something to say about him.
Jesy Nelson said how she feels sorry for Gary now that Christopher is his only act left.

Jesy says: "Poor Gary, clinging on to Ma-phoney. We're not fans."
She added that she and the girls just don't understand who would but a Christopher Maloney album:
"I don't really get it and I don't know who is going to buy his music. I guess 'each to their own'. But I can't see that he's going to become a pop star."
Well, it takes on to know one we guess and don't forget Little Mix won the show last year.
And her band mate Jade Thirwall vowed: "I'll eat my hat if he goes the whole way."
However, we hope Jade has some tasty headgear to choose from as it's believed Christopher is winning the public vote week on week.
Yep, so it seems Chris may well very have the last laugh.
We wonder if Little Mix will say what they think when they perform their new single DNA on tonight's results show?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eight holiday scams and how to avoid them


Visa stamp in passport (© Getty Images)
It’s a jungle out there. For all the beaches and basilicas you might see, going on holiday to foreign lands risks all manner of currency cons, pretend policemen and pilfered passports. The sensible just stay in Britain, and rent a bungalow in Bognor. But if you’re determined to head abroad, then at least be vigilant. Here are eight of the commonest tourist scams – and how best to sidestep them:
The speedy visa
It seems a pain to apply for a visa for the likes of Burkina Faso, Borneo or Bolivia in advance, so you decide to get one on arrival, which the guidebook promises is possible. However, when you come to the gates, Carlos the Customs Officer gives you two options: a ‘speedy visa’, for which pleasure you pay an extortionate charge (payable to Carlos, please), or a normal one, for which you need to wait. And wait. And wait…
Solution: Get your visa sorted in advance, and make sure you do so via the relevant country’s embassy. Resist using agencies or third-parties; they generally charge high fees.
The tour rep with an agenda
Often witnessed in souks, one of the oldest ruses in the scam book sees guides take you into shops run by their friends, and pressure you into a purchase – it’s in their interest, as they’ll get commission. Or, a variation on this, recommending a restaurant run by their brother, mother or twin sister’s aunt’s boyfriend’s neighbour.
Solution: Always be wary when a guide suggests you enter a place of business, and remember you’re the boss: if you want to buy or eat somewhere else, you darn well can.
The currency conners
Learning a foreign currency can be difficult. Swindlers can take advantage of naivety in various ways: a corrupt cashier providing the wrong denomination of notes, a shopkeeper lopping off a zero or a barman giving you, say, Czech koruna (50 to £1) instead of Polish zloty (six to £1). Watch out too for retailers billing you in sterling rather than the local currency, and applying their own exchange rate; suffice to say, they don’t use’s latest figures.
Solution: Be alert, and learn the local currency quickly, including recent exchange rates. Only change money at the most official-looking places, and never accept sterling abroad.
The early-morning reception call
Here’s how this one works: very early in the morning, after you checked in late the night before, the hotel reception rings up; they forgot this when you arrived, but they just need your bank details for security reasons. You mumble them out, and then return to your forty winks. They, meanwhile, make an early start on the year’s Christmas presents.
Solution: Be vigilant with details, and say you’ll pay cash for any charges, please. At the end of your stay, ask for an itemised bill. You’ll be amazed how often this request leads to the receptionist realising that they’ve made a mistake.
Taxi (© Getty Images)
The illegal taxi
If you think British taxi drivers are a rip-off, wait until you meet some of their equivalents abroad. The problem always stems from bogus cabs; often these look like the genuine article from the outside, but quickly reveal themselves not to be so. You might be ferried to completely the wrong hotel, so another taxi can ‘rescue you’ for a prohibitive fee, or charged far too much in the absence of a meter. In the worst cases, you’ll be driven up a dim side-street and efficiently relieved of all valuables.
Solution: As best you can, ensure the cab is official; the driver should have ID and a meter. Attempt to arrange a fee upfront if possible, but don’t pay until you’ve reached your destination. Try not to put any luggage in the boot – it’s amazing how often those keys can go missing…
The not-so-complimentary nibbles
Ah – everyone loves some free bread or olives between a meal. It’s the sign of a good restaurant, don’t you think? A nice free appetiser bef… what? What’s that? It wasn’t free after all? It’s on our bill? They’ve charged how much?
Solution: Easy – learn the local word for ‘free’, point at said aperitif and ask the local Manuel just how complimentary these pre-dins snacks really are.
The fake policeman
This classic involves a man in plain clothes approaching you and claiming to be a policeman. Thus follows an elaborate explanation – a hunt for a suspect; a local crackdown on counterfeit currency – of why he needs to see your passport, wallet or both. Hand them over, and he’ll just be back in a minute…
Solution: Ask to see identification in the first instance. If money or a passport is demanded, rather than refuse, suggest you do it at the station (although don’t accept a lift) or say you’ve left both at home.
The damaged hire car
At the airport, you check in your Renault 19 and it’s all smiles at the car hire desk. But, back home, your credit card bill a few weeks later reveals that the car-hire company’s charged you a Ferrari’s worth of pounds for alleged damages that you know are made up.
Solution: The easiest way out of this hole is to avoid it altogether. Mark any damage before you hire the car and take photographs afterwards. Always ask for an official ‘all clear’ receipt when returning the car.

For Cameron, Obama's win is a warning

The prime minister might end up learning the wrong lessons from the US president's re-election, argues Adam Bienkov.

As it became clear that Barack Obama had won, David Cameron immediately congratulated the man he called "my friend" and said that he looked forward to working with him for "the next four years."

For Cameron, Obama's victory proved that incumbents can win, even when unemployment is high and growth low.

It proved that he can win despite his opponents promising all gain and no pain.

And it proved that after a long, messy time in government, voters won't necessarily hand back control to the people who caused the mess.

But if David Cameron believes that Obama's victory guarantees his own re-election, then he is in for a nasty surprise.

Because what Tuesday's result really shows is that time is running out for the conservative movements both in the US and the UK.

"Their remaining supporters are overwhelmingly pale, male and stale"

In America, the Republicans have lost the popular vote in five out of the last six presidential elections.

Their remaining supporters are overwhelmingly pale, male and stale, amid an electorate that is more diverse by the year.

In the UK, the Conservative vote is also in steady decline, with non-whites, northerners and the young, increasingly less likely to vote Tory.

Government cuts and controversial reforms to the NHS have also damaged trust in the party.

Meanwhile Cameron's hopes that a review of parliamentary constituency boundaries would cancel out bias against his party were dashed by the Lib Dems, in revenge for the Tories refusing to allow House of Lords reform.

And just as the Tea Party forced Mitt Romney onto marginal and unpopular positions, so too have the Conservatives forced Cameron onto issues that most people don't care about.

While the public worry about jobs and growth, the Conservative Party obsess about abortion and Europe.

"The Conservatives are pushing Cameron eyes-shut, arms-folded into the abyss."

Cameron failed to win a majority against Gordon Brown, largely because he hadn't done enough to change this perception.

Winning after five years in government now looks even more difficult.

But in order to stand a chance, the Tories need to drastically change their image, and they need to rapidly retreat from the margins of public debate.

Both of these look increasingly unlikely to happen.

Just as Republicans are using Romney's defeat as an excuse to go even further right, so too are the Conservatives pushing Cameron eyes-shut, arms-folded into the abyss.

Of course Ed Miliband is no Barack Obama, and the Conservative Party have not descended to the extreme positions taken by the Republican right.

But if you want a picture of Cameron's future, then don’t imagine him standing victorious in front of a stadium full of screaming fans.

Instead just think again of that guy called Mitt Romney. And imagine him explaining to his supporters why once again they have fallen short.

Rita Ora suffers nip slip on stage, cringe

It's happened to the best of performers. From Nicki Minaj to Madonna.
Rita OraRita Ora suffered an awkward nip slip. Copyright [WENN]And last night, poor Rita Ora suffered a cringeworthy nip slip as she performed on stage.
And it's not as though Rita was strutting her stuff in a little venue where no one really saw. She was only at blimmin' Wembley Arena.
Serious cringe.
Rita OraRita Ora looked amazing during her gig. Copyright [WENN]Rita was wearing a white jumpsuit with the zip pulled right down at the front - and it seems that in her flurry to get on stage and strut her stuff, she forgot to put her bra on.
But she can be forgiven, seeing as Rita was actually zooming all over London - after her performance at Wembley she then motorbiked to the 02 arena for another show.
She even tweeted a snap of herself next to the motorbike, sporting a stylish crash helmet.
Rita OraRita Ora was performing two gigs last night - and jumped on a motorbike between them! Copyright [Rita Ora]She tweeted the photo alongside the caption:"ON MY WAY TO MY SECOND SHOW OF THE NIGHT!! THIS IS HOW WE ROLL!! #SYLTONUM1 #CULTURECLASH."
Following her second performance, Rita took to Twitter again to tell fans she was (understandably) a bit knackered.
The singer said: "'Goodnight! 2 shows in a row I'm done. i need sleep. goodnight!"
Well, we reckon after two shows and a recent tour of America, AND a succession of number one singles, Rita Ora's nip slip is probably the last thing on her mind.

Kim Kardashian you *might* have overdone the leather (we won’t mention the shades)

Kim Kardashian has been making some very...err...interesting fashion choices lately.
Kim KardashianKim Kardashian went for an all-out leather look. Copyright [Rex]We all know that Kim Kardashian is a fan of leather, but we think that today's ensemble might just be a little too much.
 And that's before we've even got onto those shades.
Kim Kardashian has touched down in London-town (sorry, we couldn't resist) with her sisters in her full-on leather outfit.
Kimmy K donned a pair of her trademark black leather thigh-high boots.
However, she then teamed the boots with a shiny leather jacket and a pair of weird sunglasses.
Kim KardashianKim Kardashian went for leather boots and a jacket. Copyright [Rex]At first we thought the shades were actually an eye mask. Well, what do we know. Either way, we think they're slightly unnecessary given that it hasn't been sunny in London for what feels like a million years.
Shades aside, Kim Kardashian seems to have a bit of an obsession with leather at the moment.
From peplum tops to leather leggings, to mini skirts to jackets, we don't think we've seen her in an outfit which doesn't involve some form of the stuff.
Kim KardashianKim Kardashian without her weird shades. Copyright [Splash]However, given how cold it is in the UK at the moment, at least Kim Kardashian will be cosy.
During her stay in Blighty, Kim Kardashian also seems keen to have a get together with Kate Middleton.
The reality star said: "We'd love to [see Kate Middleton], are you kidding? We all love her! I'd call her up and ask her to lunch. She's amazing."
Maybe Kim could give Kate a pair of those sunglasses. Now that we'd love to see

I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Line Up: Our first impressions

Today ITV officially announced the full line up for this year's 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'.
The I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here line up has been officially announced. [ITV]

With this year's celebrity campers jetting off to the Australia today, omg! gives its verdict on what we expect from this year's batch.
The most likely to 'do a Myleene': Helen Flanagan
Helen will more than likely be spending her time under the waterfall. [ITV]
She's spent the majority of the last 12 months posing with her boobs on show so we reckon that Helen will feel right at home standing in a bikini underneath the camp's resident waterfall. And we're sure quite a few male viewers won't mind either.
The most likely to not be phased by the bushtucker trials: David Haye
David Hayes shouldn't find the bushtucker trials too difficult. [ITV]
The former World Boxing Association heavyweight champion claims that his biggest fear is 'losing'. Well if this is the case David should be pretty darn good when he is faced with the gruesome bushtucker trials.
The one who won't cope with the lack of food: Colin Baker
Colin may find the rations difficult to stomach. [ITV]
We're not being rude here, the Doctor Who veteran has admitted that he would give up alcohol 'at the drop of a hat' but when it comes to eating 'there isn't a fridge he wouldn't be able to raid in the middle of the night'. Good luck with the beans and rice Colin.
The most likely to keep the camp in high spirits: Brian Conely
Brian will keep the campmates laughing [ITV]
Comedian and presenter Brian Conely is seen rarely without a smile. The former face of ITV entertainment is probably looking to relive his glory days so expect a stream of jokes- both good and bad.
The most likely to be challenged by the bush tucker trials: Eric Bristow
Eric could find the trials a challenge. [ITV]
Yes, technically speaking Eric is a sportsman. But when you consider his sport is darts we can't imagine Eric will be the most active member of the camp. Still, he could surprise us all and take home ten stars in the first bushtucker trial.
The most likely to throw a showbiz hissy fit: Hugo Taylor
Hugo will be a long way from luxurious Chelsea. [ITV]
Former 'Made in Chelsea' star Hugo couldn't be further out of his comfort zone in the middle of the Australian jungle. We predict his first reaction to the camp will be along the lines of: 'What do you mean we aren't sleeping under 500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets?'
The early favourite to win: Charlie Brooks
Charlie could be the early favourite to win. [ITV]
After spending the best part of a decade on our screens portraying the scheming Janine Butcher, Charlie is arguably one the most well known celebrities this year. If she manages to come across as anything but her on screen alter ego then we think she is in with a good chance of being crowned Queen of the Jungle.

The mum of the camp: Linda Robson
We suspect Linda will be the mum of the camp. [ITV]
The 'Birds of a Feather' actress seems to be the safest bet on becoming camp mother to the younger contestants. She's already admitted that the most difficult part of the show will be leaving her family behind but we're sure there will be more than a few petrified celebs she will be able to Mother.
The controversial one: Nadine Dorries
Nadine could ruffle a few feathers in camp. [ITV]
Outspoken Conservative MP Nadine looks like she could be this year's controversial contestant. Already ruffling feathers in parliament- MP's have called for her suspension for even signing up to the show- we can see Nadine spearheading some of the camps most heated of debates.
The eye candy of the camp: Ashley Roberts
Ashley will be bringing some glanmour to the jungle. [ITV]
It seems that ITV have taken it upon themselves to keep as many members of the Pussycat Dolls in pocket as possible. Nicole Scherzinger's former band mate spent most of her time looking pretty when performing in the popular group so we expect much of the same from her in the jungle.