I just remembered that while I was stuck on that plane last week coming back from being an international businessman (shame I don’t get international businessman pay BTW) there was a salesman sitting behind me next to an English undergraduate.
I know this because the guy didn’t stop talking from the moment I sat down until the moment I got up, opened the rear door and threw myself out at 22,000ft.
Okay I didn’t do that but honestly I would have rather been stuck next to a 300lb screaming monster-baby. With a bad vomiting bug.
Now this guy couldn’t stop talking because a) he was a salesman and b) he was nervous (probably because of the dodgy engine; see the last post). But he was scaring the hell out of the student. She was laughing in that hysterical way you would do as someone explains to you that the reason they say get into the ‘brace’ position if you are unlucky enough to be in an airplane disaster scenario isn’t to try to save your life, it’s to try and keep your teeth in your face so they can identify your body from dental records. Nice.
That guy was an arsehole but his buddy was worse – some kind of Eastern European who was trying to chat this girl up by explaining that his girlfriend had left him and that he was looking for love because he had ‘biological needs’. Really? Keeping looking mate you’re going to be in it for the long haul.
Anyway, after a particularly stressy work week I decided to unwind with a serious dose of cooking. I decided to try Coq au Vin again. This time with croissant!
It’s Roman shield time. Right now, as you read this, mums and dads all over the globe are trying to make Roman shields for their kids’ school projects. There is a global conspiracy; teachers get their own back on all those parents and their horrible children by sending them home with the task of making a Roman shield.
It’s a pain in the arse to make, and what’s more it’s an expensive pain in the arse to make. But wait, I hear you holler at your screens. How does he know all this fascinating information? Is he in on the conspiracy? No. I just went through that pain, and blogged it. And since the beginning of September this year that post has been read 650 times (2,500 times in all).
I even know when the shields are being created – September through November and another peak in April and May. I love the stats on WordPress.
But, as this is supposed to be a food blog, I’d better get down to business. And for me pies mean business. And you can’t call a pie a pie unless it contains a substantial quantity of pastry.
***Warning: this post contains evidence of a baking fail***
What a surprise. I don’t really get baking. Hot hands and a cold heart maybe.
Anyway, one thing I always liked about American restaurants and bars is that they serve up burgers in a brioche bap. Makes the whole burger thing that little more decandent.
Now in the UK you can get brioche loaves. You can get brioche finger rolls. You can get brioche with chocolate and brioche with jam. You can get things that are almost baps but they are called cholla (they even taste the same as brioche).
But for someone like me, suffering raging OCD, that will not do. I want brioche baps. So I decided to make my own. And that meant yeast. And that meant ‘oh dear’.
In this wonderful Isle we aren’t allowed to shop before 11am or after 5pm on Sundays (except in little shops for some wierd reason) – even on the day before Christmas Eve.
The only person I know who still goes to church is my mother, and, given the rapture, armageddon, doomsday (call it what you will) didn’t come to pass two days ago, i doubt whether many people will be swapping a trip to the local supermarket for a session on their knees praising the almighty.
Anyway, obviously today is going to be hell on earth for those foolhardy enough to venture out. Of course there are some who have no choice. Like me. I needed brussel sprouts and I needed the ingredients for Pigs-In-Blankets – two essential Christmas meal items.
I’d been awake since about 3am since our opposite-neighbours introduced us to the concept of 24 hour daylight with their latest festive lighting arrangement (it’s getting more outrageous each year), so by 10am I was getting bored has hell:
Over here, on this funny wind-swept island (which incidentally is close to half the size of California yet contains almost twice as many people) we know a thing or two about breakfast.
Now of course the British used to ‘Go to Work on an Egg’! but nowadays it’s more likely to be a bowl of muesli with maybe a bit of organic yoghurt. Perhaps one of those green smoothies (what’s in those?)
However there is still a hardcore of Englishmen and women who yearn for the good old days, when life was less complex, cholesterol hadn’t been invented yet and bacon still had an inch of fat and the rind on.
Yes this group still enjoys a good old-fashioned fry up. But its unpopular. Its full of fat. It’s bad.
So how do you get round this conundrum; on the one hand you want the salty greasiness to fuel your day, on the other you want the approval of your peers (or nutritionist).