Gnocchi – more trouble than it’s worth

As regular readers of this increasingly irregular blog might be aware, one of the vague (and I do mean vague) drivers of the content (sorry I am getting my business-speak mixed up with my normal-speak) is that the creations that are blogged should be original, if possible.

That is to say, I try not to post one-hundred ways to cook a steak (which BTW I fail at miserably – how many times have I cooked and photographed a half-cooked fillet steak…more times than grandma. Which was none, she didn’t have a camera).

Thus I am always on the lookout for something new and different. The internet is generally rubbish for new and different recipes – many of the food related sites you can find never really get updated, often regurgitating the same thing over again (BBC Good Food – you know who you are). In fact blogs are about the best source of food innovation and inspiration, but who wants to copy another blogger unless it’s absolutely essential (reference my Angry Bird’s Cake).

So when the wife (always the wife) suggested gnocchi, I jumped, nay limped, at the chance.

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Thai Fishcakes with Cucumber and Carrot Salad

You know that thing where you cook something with the intention of blogging it, forget about it, go back to it and than can’t remember what the ingredients were? No? Well you’re a better blogger than I.

I’ve got a big backlog of recipes stored up on the my old laptop. Some good, some not so good and some disasters. This one was good. I just can’t remember the exact ingredients.

I’ve made fishcakes before, ages ago. That time I tested homemade against shop-bought from the local Wing Yip. The Wing Yip version won hands down; the homemade ones were too dry; they were deep fried and I cooked them too long.

These ones are much better – shallow fried just long enough to brown them up a bit and then ten mins in the oven.

This creation began when the wife presented me with three items for a side dish she wanted me to make to go with the fishcakes, and I had to guess what she wanted me to make….

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Flooding in South London – All the chaos without the actual water.

Did I mention we live in a ditch? No? Well we do. It’s a big ditch, but, as far as we are concerned, it’s a ditch none the less.

Okay we live in a valley. Right at the bottom. The valley is about five miles long and cuts into the North Downs, which is a range of hills which run along the bottom of London.

A road runs along the bottom of the valley. Its called the A22. Not very inspiring, but bits of it hark back to Roman times, when they needed a route from the south coast to Londinium.

Apart from some sheep the valley remained fairly unpopulated for thousands of years. Then came the railways. Two railways were built through the valley in the nineteenth century, and with them came commuters.

Many hundreds of Victorian ‘two-up, two-down’ terraced homes were built for working-class, white-collar City workers and suddenly thousands of people flooded the valley. And it went on into the 1930s.

What’s all this got to do with floods? Well all the while, down through the millenia, a little river, called the Caterham Bourne, has been winding its way down the valley, joining the River Wandle and onto olde mother (father?) Thames. The Thames, the life blood of London itself.

What’s a Bourne? Basically it’s a stream that only flows when there is a lot rain. So you tend to forget it’s even there…

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Doesn’t look much…but this thing is shifting 5000 gallons a minute….or is that litres…whatever, it’s enough to get this lot pumping….

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Fireman attacked by giant Costa Skinny Caramel Latte. No really.

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Steamed Barbeque Pork Buns (Char siu bao)

I’ve got a list of things I have to try and cook. Steamed Pork Buns had gotten to the top.

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Currently a suicidally tedious diet, excruciating work shenanigans and flood issues which are now more irritating than worrying has made blogging about food reasonably* challenging.

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Why you’d never know about Spinach & Black Bean Burrito if it wasn’t for the Wonderweb

The calm oasis that was my January has just been wiped out. The great corporate beast that I work for has awoken, akin to the dragon Smaug (that’s pronounced ‘Smowg’ btw, not ‘Smorg’ for some reason) from the latest Hobbit film.

It’s coming thick and fast.

Added to this the wife is busy sorting out our social calendar. This includes several weddings and, first time for me, a hat and wig party (I know what I’m going as but I’m not telling yet).

It also just occurred to me that I am in my 5th decade. I find this neither amusing or even newsworthy. It’s the sort of thing you read about a famous film star (e.g. Harrison Ford is in his 8th decade. Think about that, Grandpa).

But it’s kind of interesting. I mean I’ve seen out half a century, and apart from hair length and car fumes that don’t smell like they used to, not that much has changed over the years. (Well okay you can now do blogs).

But hold on there. The Interweb was created originally for the US Army. Imagine if someone had decided it should be kept a military secret. You know:

General X: ‘the population cannot be given access to this kind of technology’.

President: ‘Why not?’

General X: ‘Because they would end up wasting it on porn, writing about food and sending each other instant messages about their bowel movements’.

President: ‘That’s ridiculous, people are too busy to waste their lives with such humdrumery’.

General X: ‘Well I rule this country and they ain’t having it. Sir’.

Without the internet what would you be doing? Right now? Well, you wouldn’t be reading this drivel would you? And you wouldn’t be writing an email. Or reading the verbal diarrhoea that is Twitter.

You might be watching the TV. Or talking on the phone. Or, god-forbid, writing a letter. And if we didn’t have the internet – would we have things like digital cameras? What would be the point if the only thing you could do with a photo was stick it in an album?

I wouldn’t have 150 shots of a burned chicken pie stored on the hard drive of my IBM desk top (which wouldn’t have changed that much from the glorified word processers of the late 1980s). I wouldn’t even have one photo. No one wants to look at a burned pie in a photo album. I could go on but I won’t (thank crap for that I hear you sigh).

Which brings me, by some bizarre circuitous route, to the food spot in this ramblage. And no it isn’t burned chicken pie. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever blogged a chicken pie. Mmm…pie, as Homer would drool.

It’s something far worse than that. It’s a Spinach & Black Bean Burrito and it’s yet another Gwyneth Paltrow-inspired Gloop creation. (Don’t worry we’ve already got bored with the recipes from that site so this will be last one for now).

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