Cheesy Fondue Bake – the Perfect Antidote to ‘Fuggy Friday’.

Oh happy days. The wind it doth blow and the rain it doth piss. Forsooth methinks I have a) had enough of crappy weather and b) swallowed an olde English dictionary.

I had the pleasure and the privilege of travelling to the Emerald Isle this week for a couple of meetings. To my great shame I had never visited Ireland before, even though I have an Aunt who is based in Dublin. Also, to my even greater shame, I saw little of that country – an airport, a motorway and an office.

But I did make a new best friend; Sean, the cab driver. Great bloke who shared the same cynical-ironic sense of humour. We ranted about driving, football, cars and finally our countries. Perfect antidote to 4 hours in a ‘discovery’ meeting.

(A ‘discovery’ meeting is a meeting where you spend the whole time hiding your intentions from the other party whilst trying not to come across like you’re hiding your intentions from the other party; I’m not that good at it because it gets a bit tedious).

Anyway, after getting back to Blighty (the plane nearly didn’t  make it; I’m sure it  clipped a wing as we hit the tarmac in the middle of a gale) I needed some stodge food.

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Roasted Vegetable Pastry Slice

I’ve always been fascinated by the human condition. What’s that supposed to mean, I hear you ask. Well rather than explain myself with some psychobabble (I could do that you know. I could write a load of pompous twaddle which you might or might not agree with) I shall give you a real-life example.

Driving.

Now for some reason people act entirely differently when driving a car, compared to, say, sitting on the toilet. Not a great comparison but it’s all I can think of. A (female) psychiatrist wrote this was because a car represents one of the last few remaining expressions of territoriality, where the individual feels cocooned and protected from the outside world. It’s like a metal womb on wheels. And it needs to be defended at all costs from the marauding enemy (that is, everyone else on the road; especially cyclists).

Which might go some way to explaining why I can’t behave myself in my car. Only the other day I had the following experience:

‘No, I will not pull over Mr Crappy-2.0-litre-BMW-X1-shite-mobile, just because you want to get in front of me. What I will do is accelerate away from you every time you get near my bumper and then slow down again so you can catch me up.

Then, once you start tailgating me again I will accelerate away from you again and leave you standing, because you don’t have the power to keep up. You tosser. And I will repeat this all the way to the M3. You arse-gap.  Then I will stay in the middle lane whilst you zoom passed me only to move into the middle lane to and stay there. Prick.

Anyway the connection between this diatribe on the foibles of modern man and Roasted Vegetable Pastry Slice are spurious to say the least. Actually there is no connection at all, I just felt like venting spleen.

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Cheese and Chicken Pancake Stacks

I think I’ve given up trying to be a gourmet chef. I’ve tried, God knows I’ve tried. But it’s hard. The attention to detail. The need for quality ingredients. The hours of preparation. But, in reality, I’m more a Man v Food kind of cook: pile it high and …eat it.

For this session I tried to create something that employed food rings – I mean anything that requires food rings has to be haute cuisine right? Even cheese and chicken pancakes.

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Roast Aubergine Parmigiana

Of course the problem with preparing great big lumps of tender meat dripping with rich wine-based sauces is that no one else wants to eat them. So in the interests of maintaining a healthy marriage I do like to delve into the depths of vegetarian cuisine.

But chickpeas, lentils….spelt!? Come on. I’d end up growing a tail and start nibbling raw carrot. So I’m always looking out for UVCs (Unusual Vegetable Creations). And here we focus on the Aubergine. ‘Aubergine’? Alright the Eggplant. But I can’t call it that because it neither has the shape of an egg, nor the colour (Why is it called an eggplant? Come to think of it, why is it called an aubergine? I’m renaming it – ‘Purple Shiny Potato’).

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Kale Potato Cakes with Wild Salmon Fillets

Salmon is a staple in this house because it is a protein we will both eat (the kids eat anything, unless its green). But hunting around, looking for exciting things to do with salmon can be quite tedious.

So when the wife came home with a big bag of kale (she does that, comes home with exciting new taste sensations – little pots of stuff, bags of greenery, although I must admit not usually unusual cuts of meat) I thought an opportunity had arisen to come up with something different.

So using all my powers of culinary creativity I came up with…..potato fritters, cakes patties, etc. But there is a sting in the tale – kale holds a secret I was unaware of…..

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