Coq au Vin with Croissant Cobbler

I just remembered that while I was stuck on that plane last week coming back from being an international businessman (shame I don’t get international businessman pay BTW) there was a salesman sitting behind me next to an English undergraduate.

I know this because the guy didn’t stop talking from the moment I sat down until the moment I got up, opened the rear door and threw myself out at 22,000ft.

Okay I didn’t do that but honestly I would have rather been stuck next to a 300lb screaming monster-baby. With a bad vomiting bug.

Now this guy couldn’t stop talking because a) he was a salesman and b) he was nervous (probably because of the dodgy engine; see the last post). But he was scaring the hell out of the student. She was laughing in that hysterical way you would do as someone explains to you that the reason they say get into the ‘brace’ position if you are unlucky enough to be in an airplane disaster scenario isn’t to try to save your life, it’s to try and keep your teeth in your face so they can identify your body from dental records. Nice.

That guy was an arsehole but his buddy was worse – some kind of Eastern European who was trying to chat this girl up by explaining that his girlfriend had left him and that he was looking for love because he had ‘biological needs’. Really? Keeping looking mate you’re going to be in it for the long haul.

Anyway, after a particularly stressy work week I decided to unwind with a serious dose of cooking. I decided to try Coq au Vin again. This time with croissant!

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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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Essential Autumnal Fare – Beef Braised in Red Wine

This week we have seen snow storms in the Mid West United States. Seems as though they have hit Winter head on and not bothered with the Fall. One of my previous managers at work hailed from North Dakota and liked to explain how in those parts Spring and Fall could last about 5 minutes – it seemed to go from sweltering heat to freezing blizzards overnight.

Well over here in good ol’ Britain we like to make a major palava out of our weather. In fact this year we are still waiting for Autumn to arrive. It’s T-shirt weather still. But we are gearing up for a good hard blast of Mr Freezy. It’s the way it works. You have to pay the (weather) piper at some point.

So this creation doesn’t really feel right for an evening where it’s still 17 Centigrade. But who cares. Maybe I can package it up and ship it off to those poor folks in South Dakota…

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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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Goulash – Brain Food for PowerPoint Monkeys

For those who work in ‘Big Corporations’ you may well know that it’s ‘Strategy Season’.

You know when Elmer Fudd goes mad with a double-barrel shotgun during Rabbit-Hunting Season? Well it’s just the same in ‘Big Corporations’ during Strategy Season – little Fudds stride the corridors of power with PowerPoint slides in hand, hunting for strategies that will see them through to next year.

And what, you may well (and rightly) ask, has all this got to do with Goulash? Not a great deal, but given the amount of time I am currently spending on PowerPoint, recipes need to deliver results that satisfy my short-term strategic objective (that is: feed me, I’m hungry) whilst also satisfying the time-poor nature of the day-to-day.

My longer term aspiration (stop feeding me, I’m on a diet) will be satisfied in the second stage of the development cycle, which will begin when my waistline fails to align correctly with my suit trousers and I enter a corporate condition known commonly as ‘you fat bastard’.

Until this stage is reached there is Goulash.

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