How Lamb Kofta Kebabs Helped Me Get Over Amazon.com

Rant time. It’s been a while. Do any of you shop on Amazon?

Is the Pope Catholic, I hear you think.

Or does a bear, so the saying goes, shit in the woods?

Well, my take on Amazon is that it’s great. Until it’s not.

I know many bloggers do not watch TV. But I do. Love TV. Sat through 180 episodes of ‘Lost’*. Watched all of Star Trek.

So when Amazon started ‘streaming’ (what a great word that is) TV and films from it’s website I said to myself ‘I’ll have me some of that!.

Now American TV is the best. A series on American TV goes on for ever. Episode after epidode. Not like British TV. Four episodes of ‘Sherlock’ and that’s it for a year. With American TV you got 24 episodes of ‘24’ (canny that) and it seems to take over your (some might say sad) life.

So I settled in to watch a TV show called ‘Once Upon a Time’. The premise is simple. Fairytale characters (you know, Snow White, Hanzel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood etc) get transported to the real world by the Wicked Queen and live in a small town in Maine, unaware of who they really are until someone comes along and messes with their heads.

And I was getting into it. Episode 10 (of about 40). Then suddenly Amazon tells me I will have to start paying extra for it. Well that got me on the customer complaints page quicker than you can say ‘Rip off’.

I got an automated reply ‘We love you and we are totally committed to everything…but tough luck buddy’.

So I cancelled my subscription. And tried Netflix. Which of course doesn’t have ‘Once Upon a Time’. But I showed Amazon. Amazon is quaking in it’s boots. Right now.

*turned out they were all dead after all.

And so I turned off the TV and went and did something less boring instead (I’m paraphrasing an old children’s TV show; see? TV on the brain) by making Lamb Koftas with Cheesy Stuffed Potatoes.

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Tandoori Chicken with less than 300 Calories

Currently HappinessStan is not quite so happy. Because HappinessStan is on a diet. Regular readers will know this happens with tedious frequency. But it’s not surprising given some of the creations that appear on this blog. Regular dieting is the only thing that prevents him ending up looking like a a cut-price Marlon Brando (during his later years).

Take a look at the ‘Most viewed’ posts to the right. It’s not a sea of quinoa and green smoothies is it. Sometimes there is a pic of a Roman shield that fretful fathers have searched for at specific times in the school year, but generally its cake and meat & pastry combinations people want to look at. And that is what I tend to cook, and tend to eat.

So with a heavy heart (and even heavier backside) I have decided to spend a period in abstinence. But unlike with previous dietary cycles (where I basically live off boiled chicken) this time I thought I’d have a go at preparing genuine ‘low calorie’ recipes (Brrrr… even writing that sends shivers down my spine)

So here we go. A new series of recipes with less than 300 calories a serving. But worry not. I will intersperse with proper food, which I prepare whilst other, more fortuitous souls, eat.

We shall kick off with Tandoori Chicken. Now how can you make anything remotely approaching something that is even getting close to Tandoori Chicken with a) less than 300 calories and b) no tandoor?

Good questions.

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Millionaire’s Chocolate Tart

(Ed. note: Eagle-eyed readers might notice that I posted this a few days ago. But I only posted the preamble rambling; I got over-excited and pressed ‘publish’ instead of ‘save’ before including the bit about the chocolately creation, which is now included)

I’m a fully connected individual.

I Lync (sic), I Skype (sic not needed as this name is some crumby attempt at a portmanteau, I suspect, something like Sky-Type. Rubbish).

I can Webex, GlobalMeet and joinme.com and I generally can think of nothing more fun than sharing my desktop with people I do not know and will more than likely never actually meet.

I have a head set than enables me to go hands-free whilst on a call and I have been told by colleagues that said headset reminds them of Rosemary, the telephone operator from Hong Kong Phooey:

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Aubergine Pasta Pie

I often find myself banging my head against a brick wall. Not for any specific reason, I just enjoy the searing pain that racks through my brain.

No, not really, but it can be a bit painful trying to come up with the next culinary creation. What’s the food blogger’s equivalent of writer’s block? Constipation? Maybe.

So when I happened upon Aubergine Pasta Pie, I knew it had to be attempted (It’s called ‘Pasta ‘ncasciata’, apparently, but that isn’t important right now).

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Corned Beef Pie

Earlier this year we attended my wife’s sister’s wedding reception. Now this was no ordinary event; themed as a tea party it was a nostalgic affair, including cream teas (I will do one of those one day) and decor that whisked us back to a bygone era when England punched way above its weight, and, as they say, ruled the waves.

The fussy eater came with us (the older child was somewhere else; teenagers. Nuff said). As we sipped tea from china cups, and nibbled scones with strawberry jam and cucumber sandwiches, out came several enormous pies.

Now my laser-like food sensors immediately indicated that these pies might be an interesting proposition. So I was at the table they were being placed on before they had arrived.

Corned Beef Pies. Big ones. A took a large slice for me and one for the fussy eater. He liked it that much we conspired to recreate this creation at home.

Now in the UK corned beef is not the same as corned beef as it is in the States. Over there it appears to be more like salted beef. I mean it looks like beef. Over here it comes in tins (from Argentina usually) and has the consistency of lumpy pate.

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Not that it matters. This is a) Easy and b) Delicious. And that, oh wonderful readers, is all that matters. Everything else is flim-flammery.

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