Beef Hotpot

First a joke.

A woman walks into a bar and asks for a double entendre, so the barman gave her one.

Next an observation. It’s the General Election in the UK next week. The General Election is like voting for a new President in the US, except the difference is that no one cares.

Now a dilemma. After much research I’ve realised I don’t need iCloud. I have 7,500 photographs and I just loaded all of them into iCloud. But they are nearly all pictures of me making food. That’s the problem with digital photography and wine. You end up just taking hundreds of pictures of a bowl of chilli which turn out all to look not quite right. I don’t need to keep them all but I cannot quite bring myself to delete them. I mean I could just leave them on the laptop but I…well I’m conflicted about the whole thing. I am starting to think that the ‘Cloud’ is a big red herring, it isn’t the future…maybe.

Finally a recipe.  A nice, simple, straightforward hotpot.

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Coconut Spinach and Lemony Chickpeas

This was an interesting creation I happened upon on an American blog called ‘the kitchn‘. Edgy title. Edgy? Well, see how they miss out the ‘e’ from ‘kitchen’. That’s edgy. It says ‘we do food, but we don’t follow the rules’. Anyway enough banter, they do some very nice dishes and are now a useful source of inspiration. And this one was dead easy, served with a baked sweet potato, which is a culinary sensation in itself.

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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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Braised Short Ribs

Just about the only cut of meat I haven’t cooked was short ribs. (That’s a complete untruth, there are many, many cuts of meat I haven’t cooked yet but slow-cooked ribs is the one that I fancied most).

As we got our first frost of the winter today I thought I would celebrate by writing up this bad boy from a week or so ago.

One moment please, I’m just going outside to shoot the annoying person setting off some fireworks…

…okay he isn’t going to be doing that anymore. Back to the frost scenario. This year Autumn (or ‘fall’ as some say) has been the warmest ever (some bright spark could probably bore us to death with meteorological statistics saying it was warmer in 1934, but I don’t care, it was warm, like 25 centigrade in October warm).

And you know, things go a bit weird when the weather does funny things in Britain. Wearing t-shirts and shorts in the last week of October just looks strange. Its not right.

So when it got a bit chilly a week or so ago I headed off to the local butchers (local as in 20 minutes drive) to get me some ribs. Now the butchers are usually a jovial pair, all ‘Sir’ and ‘Lovely cut that’ and all that crap. But that day they were not in a good mood.

‘Have you got any short ribs?’

‘Well we have ribs, pork or beef?’

‘Beef’ (How was I to know to make them short they just cut them down the middle)

Can you cut them down the middle?’

‘I can cut them anyway you want (slight pause) sir’.

‘Fine, do that’.  I turned round, annoyed, and stared at some pickles, almost wanting to walk out but wanting those ribs more.

Anyway the old guy cheered up and started recommending all sorts of methods of preparation. But I wasn’t listening. I had spotted a small but very dark 42 day aged fillet steak. I chose that too, for another day…

Back home I put my plan into action. I intended marinading the ribs and then slow cooking them in wine. Lots of wine.

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Classic Banoffee Pie

One of the most searched-for recipes that leads people to Happiness Stan is ‘banana-less banoffee pie’. If you took a look at the link you can see this is not really anything to do with banoffee pie, I just like playing with words and peoples’ heads (and taste buds).

But who would look for such a thing as banana-less banoffee pie? What kind of tortured soul is even thinking about, let alone seriously considering, such a thing? Maybe they are distant relatives of the Spanish Conquistadors, who’s search for the Lost City of Gold ended as fruitlessly as their modern descendants looking for a recipe that cannot exist. Mind you the conquistadors may well have tripped over some bananas as they explored the virgin rainforests desperate for a first glimpse of Eldorado.

More likely they are conflicted. On the one hand the thought of cream, biscuit, caramel and chocolate seems like a no-brainer. However countering this is the thought of sticking bits of slimy, pale yellow fruit into an otherwise perfect creation.

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This is the Eldorado of Banoffee Pies

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