With a strangely fitting lack of ceremony the Leeds comedy club Mr Bens closed this month. I for one was sad to see it go. I have some great memories of the place. It was a club where both myself and many of my peers cut our teeth. The Monday night gong show was a real rite of passage for anyone coming up in the North of England comedy scene and Mark Hayden who booked the show is a genuine champion for both new talent and left field comedy. I met many funny people and forged good friendships in that odd red basement. There's chat that Mr Bens may return in some form but for the time being I'm going to lie on my side weeping quietly and repeating Sully O'Sullivan's incantation, "...some of these people have come from as far away as Beeston", until I remember how to be funny again. Long live Mr Bens.
Stuffed Potato Skins
This is a lovely recipe for the cold winter nights and if you can't manage all four potatoes they make a great snack that will keep in the fridge for ages. Don't scrimp on the cheese and salt or you will end up with a baked spud which could be accurately described as Bland-O-Rama. You can also substitute cream for the yogurt if you are feeling especially decadent darling. I also occasionally thrown in a bit of steamed cabbage.
4 medium sized potatoes
200g grated strong cheddar
200g natural yogurt
Wash and prick your potatoes with a fork then rub the skin with a generous amount of sea salt. I tend to put a metal skewer through the potatoes which helps them cook quickly but it's not 100% necessary.
Chop your scallions finely, seperating the white and green shoots. Put the green shoots to one side and slowly sautee the white shoots in a little olive oil. Just before they begin to brown take them off the heat and leave them to cool.
After an hour in the oven at 220 degrees take out your spuds and cut them in half.
Get a big bowl and use a table spoon to scoop out the lovely soft potato. Add your butter, yogurt, fried scallions and half the cheese. When you have a nice coarse mash you can season the mixture with salt and black pepper to your taste.
Take the mixture and spoon it back into the potato skins before covering them with the rest of the cheese and the green scallion shoots. Bang the filled skins back in the oven for 5-10 minutes depending on how well done you like your cheese.
You're always advised to leave food to cool after being in the oven but I just eat it straight away because I have no sensitivity left in my body and I am a maverick who plays by his own rules.
Best consumed whilst listening to Madame George by Van Morrison.