Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce

I decided to make Sweet Chilli Mushroom Stir Fry with Pak Choy. As usual, I gathered all my ingredients…mushrooms, rice, pak choy, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce….

Disaster! Panic! Pandemonium! No sweet chilli sauce! None. Not a drop. What to do. Google.

Google provided a plethora of sweet chilli sauce solutions. All claiming to use ‘kitchen cupboard staples’, and so long as chillis and sherry are staple items in your cupboards, then you’ll be fine…

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Quick and Easy – Mexican Chipotle Chicken Stew with Rice and Beans

I have been following with interest these past few month Diane’s Kitchen Table, where the host of that blog has been undergoing a major kitchen refit. The results are spectacular to say the least. Wondering what was going to be created in this new space, I was informed that lobster risotto has already been completed.

Now in that part of the world lobster risotto might be an everyday dish; over here most people don’t even know what a lobster looks like (I know however that it is not supposed to look like the strange squashed frozen thing shrink-wrapped into a tube we Brits can find in the back of the freezer at the local supermarket).

And this got me thinking about what is common-as-chips or totally acceptable in one part of the world is completely outlandish and bizarre in another.

Take Sannakji for example, a dish I read about on a blog (sorry I cannot remember which one). It’s a Korean delicacy comprising octopus, sesame seeds and oil. Not bad if you like that sort of thing – straightforward, simple food. Except for one important feature. The octopus is still alive.

Yes that’s right. They chop it up, splash some oil on it and serve it with the tentacles still squirming around on the plate as you pop a yummy morsel in your mouth.

But here is the best bit. You have to watch how you eat it. Because the suckers on the tentacles are still working. People are known to have died because the suckers have attached themselves to the inside of the diner’s throat and choked them to death. Mother didn’t tell you to chew your food because she liked the sound of her own voice you know. She had a point.

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Seriously ridiculous way to kill yourself. Better off sticking with chicken-based creations like this easy-peasy chilli dish. Mexican Chipotle Chicken Stew benefits from a smoky chipotle paste. Chicken is altogether less likely to wake up and nip you on the tongue than an octopus (although I am aware of the fact that chickens can run around the yard after their heads have been cut off).  Seems a bit late to kick off about being beheaded though.

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Chocolate Chilli

In the world of food some things were simply meant for each other. In fact some food items are so compatible it’s a bit of a mystery why God didn’t just save some time and bring them into existence in their final, delicious form.

Take, for example, bacon sandwiches and tomato ketchup. No one would even consider one without the other, so why bother producing them as separate things? And lamb with mint jelly. What else can you do with mint jelly except eat it with lamb?

And so the list of inseparable foods goes on – cheese and pickle, steak and scallops, chocolate and jelly beans…I’m stopping now before I start chewing the keyboard.

However you can go too far. Sometimes a food combination sounds better than it tastes. For example ‘Chocolate Chilli’.

Now on paper this sounds like it should work.

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Mediterranean Fish Stew with Garlic Ciabatta

New Le Creuset soup bowls. With lids! A gift from the wife for my birthday back in June. Had to try them out.

We decided on a fishy creation rather than standard soup and went for a tomatoey base rather than creamy. And (shock, gasp) this dish is actually quite healthy!

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Random Red Thai Curry

When I started this blog I had no idea where I was going with it. And I still don’t. Apparently best practice dictates you have a theme. And you stick to it. So you get food blogs. You get travel blogs. Photography. Films. Books. Politics. And so on. I started by trying to be funny. That didn’t work.

So then I did a post where I made a chicken curry using a Chinese curry paste. And I got loads of likes and comments. So I carried on. But food blogs are dangerous. You eat what you make. And I don’t really do exercise posts.

So the Happiness Stan Blog has turned into a kind of food blog liberally sprinkled with observations about what is going on in the small world it lives in. It’s not an Epicurian’s delight. I cheat and cut corners where ever possible. Take Thai Curry for example. You can (and I have) create the curry paste from scratch – chop the chillis, peel the lime grass etc. Or just buy a jar of ready made and be done with it:

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