Beef Cheek Chilli with Essential Sides

First some things I noticed this week:

  1. Twitter is irritating. For every person that starts following you, 2 stop following you. Actually I think that every time I write a rude word, or controversial statement, like ‘Americans are crap at cricket’ then I lose loads of followers (-1)
  2. The opinion poll industry is a load of crap too (-1), in my opinion. We just had an election and all the polls said it was a neck-and-neck race. But it wasn’t – the Tories (right wing) won it by a mile and Labour (left wing) ended up looking a bit silly (-2)
  3. I am stupid. I have been haranguing my internet provider for the last week telling them their service is shit (-2). After ranting on the phone for hours over several days I finally booked an engineer. Then I checked the back of the modem, tightened the cable and now everything is fine

These are my top three observations of the week and I just realised they all related to communications, media, online; i.e. irrelevant twaddle and no one cares.

What people do care about is food:

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50 Shades of Chocolate

Grey is so….gray. Chocolate is better. Also you can’t dribble grey over your significant other and, well, whatever.

Also, there could well be 50 shades of chocolate. I’ve no idea. Brown is brown, chocolate is chocolate…but of course it isn’t. Chocolate is a whole world of bittersweet fantasmagorical wonderment. Combine it with cream and strawberries and you have a gourmet-gasm of amaze-balls. Sorry, getting carried away.

Lets get down to business, so to speak. It was pancake day yesterday and so we celebrated with Strawberries and Cream Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce.

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Mississippi Mud Pie

I definitely do like a good pie. Pie and chips. Pie and ale. Pizza pie. Pie-eyed (that’s me). All things pie (except the maths version, which you were taught at school, which is useless information unless you are paid to draw circles, and it doesn’t have an ‘e’ on the end).

But nothing resonates in this food blogger’s brain more than the term ‘Mississippi Mud Pie’. I mean come on, what dish, what culinary creation, has a name more evocative? Dirty water and dirty…well dirt.

Of course, as we all know, Mississippi Mud Pie is so called because its biscuity base reminds one of the banks of the Mississippi. Actually I have no idea what the banks of the Mississipi look like, except from what I have seen watching Mel Gibson in Maverick, and possibly an episode of National Geographic at some point.

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But can a Mississippi Mud Pie really evoke a dirty big river? I can feel a scientific analysis coming on…

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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.

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

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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.

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