Of Psychotic Jack o’lanterns and Brownie melt-downs

I don’t think I know, or even care, what Halloween is about anymore. It’s like something to do with something about some pagan ritual. Or is it something to do with saving our souls from pagan rituals. Or is it about warding off the second coming of the son of St Pumpkin.

Actually isn’t it a nod to the founding fathers staving off the attack of some indigenous peoples who were encroaching on a field of butternut squash? No, fool; Halloween is recognition of Jack Nicholson dealing with Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfiefer. At the same time. Period.

Whatever, Halloween is a good excuse to do stupid things to vegetables. It isn’t really a good excuse to make a mess with chocolate, but I propose introducing the latter as a new traditional activity.

So this Halloween we proceeded to make Chocolate Mallow Brownies. And also get busy on a couple of pumpkins. At the same time.

IMG_6297

Forget American Horror Story, this is where the terror begins…

Continue reading

Bakewell Tart

Watching the Great British Bake Off recently it struck me that the creations being created are becoming so complex that the contestants must be practicing. I mean these ‘ordinary’ folk don’t even look phased when asked to prepare crème patissiere, nor slightly troubled by the potential pitfalls of rum baba.

But it wasn’t always like this. In the beginning contestants made things like ‘Chocolate Fudge Cake’ and ‘Lemon Iced Buns’. Now they are asked to make ‘Povitica’ (whatever that is) and ‘Dobos Torte’.

Of course things have to get more interesting as time goes by; viewers don’t want to see six seasons of hapless bakers screwing up a Victoria Sponge. But for eager bloggers like myself its all getting too much.

I like to recreate creations I see on the Great British Bake Off (and other shows) every now and then. And I usually do it a few days after they have been on TV; it’s a good way of getting people to view the blog as they search for what they see on TV (for example, type Nutella Cheesecake with Ferrero Rocher into Google and there is Happiness Stan, 1st on the page, above Nigella! I get loads of visits for that one; it must be on a syndicated show somewhere, its not been done on the Bake Off because it’s a) too easy and b) contains too many pre-made ingredients).

But its got to the point now where the effort outweighs the fun. I avoid things that take more than a day to create, or require thermometers, or utensils I do not own or have never heard of. So after watching someone making a pig’s ear out of a torte I decided to create something dead easy – Bakewell Tart.

IMG_5387

Continue reading

Frozen Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake – Perfect with Strictly Come Dancing

I’m watching week two of Strictly Come Dancing. (‘Dancing with the Stars’ if you live on the other side of the pond). The wife watches religiously (she was an Am-Dram queen, took the lead in Carousel, could have been a contender…but became an accountant and it all went wrong from there…)

Anyway all this means I get to watch fat golfers (and this year fat Radio DJ’s, fat entrepreneurs, fat soap stars and not-so-fat supermodels) drag professional Latvian (maybe the odd Ukranian) dancers around a stage somewhere in England, with camp judges telling them how shit they are.

Have to love British TV. It’s the best in world. And I know that’s true, because I read it in the newspapers all the time. (BTW did anyone watch Breaking Bad? That’s the best TV. Ever.)

So. My ‘emotional investment’ in Strictly Come Dancing isn’t quite up there with Breaking Bad. (WTF is he talking about you might ask?). It’s TV-speak for ‘is that guy watching the show or is he fading out’. So if ’10’ is ‘he’s glued to the screen’ and ‘1’ is ‘he’s dribbling onto his chin’ then I’d say I’m around a three. Or ‘0’ when Vanessa Feltz is on.

IMG_9568

Which gives me plenty of time to reminisce about my Frozen Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake. Another classic from the house of Good Food Magazine. You will need…

Continue reading

How to Celebrate an Anniversary on a School Night and why Champagne isn’t a French Creation

My wife and I celebrated our third year of marriage this week. Seeing as we had work the next day we didn’t go out but made sure we had everything we needed:

IMG_6166

Continue reading