Rough Puff Pastry

Finally! I found a pastry I can make. And of course its rough. Another extract from my new ‘Perfect’ book of recipes.

But I feel a need to digress. The summer holiday season is upon us. Children off school, which is good because the daily commute instantly becomes a joyous Utopia of empty roads. Weather improving, with the heady heights of 30 plus centigrade promised this week (into the 90’s for you fahrenheit stalwarts). Those are the good points.

The bad points. Where the hell to go on holiday? By my reckoning about 90% of the globe is now a no-go. Anywhere east of India is too far (unless you can take three weeks off). India? Its experiencing a heatwave so bad people are dying in the streets. The Mediterranean. Refugees are literally swimming up to the beaches. Its real chaos. Greece? Greece is in a seriously dire mess. Egypt, Tunisia? Not likely. With the expansion of the people’s paradise of ISIS most of North Africa and the Middle East is off the table.

Maybe a Stay-cation. Who on God’s green Earth thought that one up? I mean who in their right mind can sit at home watching daytime TV with a bottle of Pino Grigio and say to themselves ‘This is fun I should do this more often’?

Although that option would give me options. Drinking wine. Cooking….And its not like I would need to worry about getting beach-body ready. Always an issue. Actually whilst rambling on, a daytime TV ad just came up – the ‘tonetee’. The ad has a middle aged man walking down a path wearing a fat-hiding T-shirt, and two women turn to stare. I think the implication was he looked super-fit. But I think they were wondering why he was walking like he had just crapped himself.

Anyway back to the pastry. Rough Puff Pastry. I made it and then I made some quiches. They don’t look all that but tasted amaze-balls…


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Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Fondant Potatoes

Over the past few months I’ve built up a vast bank of food posts. Hundreds of photos. The problem is, I can’t really remember the recipes for many of them. And I mean this is a serious food blog. Very serious. Lots of serious cooking, stern photography and in-depth analysis. So, on that basis, I have opted for posting Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Fondant Potatoes.


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Vegetarian Steamed Buns

I am developing a new list. I call it the ‘Irritating List of Annoyances’, or ILA. The ILA currently comprises:

  1. Our intermittent leaking roof. How can a bloody roof leak intermittently? How does it do that? Why does it not leak when the roof man comes round to investigate? And then start leaking once he’s gone, and it isn’t even raining.
  2. The Highways Agency. They decided that to ease the traffic problem on my way to work they would make the road narrower. Yes narrower. The reason? To make more space for the pedestrians. But there aren’t any bloody pedestrians because the road is a dual carriageway and no one walks.
  3. Squeaky noises from the car. I hear a noise and noises = £££s. But was it a noise from my car or the old banger in front? Has life come to this? Listening out for noises and then cursing other people for having noisy cars?
  4. BBC Weather forecasters. No one has any idea what the weather is going to do. But some people get paid for not knowing.

I will add to my list as time goes by. Then I will publish it and people will buy it and I will be rich and drive my car straight into my roof and that will deal with a lot of the things that annoy me.

Food doesn’t annoy me.

Some time ago I decided to try out Pork Steamed Buns. They were delicious but I had to eat all of them because the wife is vegetarian and the children were indisposed. So I thought I’d try a vegetarian version, with mushrooms replacing the pork. Maybe they’d turn out better, maybe not.


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Mushroom millefeuille

The World Cup is nearly over. And I have lost interest. The two teams any self-respecting England supporter should despise (Germany and Argentina) are playing in the final on Sunday. Why are they despised? Too painful to explain. If you don’t know, you don’t need to know.

Nevertheless, I read something quite funny the other day. (If you hate football, and you aren’t English, you might as well skip this bit because you won’t get it or simply won’t care).

Gary Linekar, our very own ‘goal-poacher-extraordinaire‘, once said:

‘Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.’

And we Brits (technically we English) know this is true. But it’s okay. It’s still fun to watch other teams, and their supporters. Some of them think they are good enough to beat the Germans. Take Brazil. Well they found out didn’t they. Or the French. Now they played Germany just the past week, and they probably thought they had a chance. But they didn’t. German efficiency stretches beyond Vorsprung durch Technik.

But the French need not worry. They can cook. Germany is only famous for big chocolate cakes covered with cherries and pickled cabbage served with sausage. The French come up with all sorts of amazing things. Take mushroom millefeuille.

These are essentially big vols-au-vent, you know those morsels of ‘wind-blown’ lightness served up during ‘80’s dinner parties.


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Mushroom Cobbler

I found this recipe in The Sunday Times. It’s a Marcus Wareing creation. He’s a chef who is described as a ‘perfectionist’.

In my mind that means he is incredibly scary and has no sense of humour. I suppose you can’t have a sense of humour if you are a professional chef. I mean think about them – Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc – they aren’t exactly a laugh a minute are they; in fact, even with that happy-chappy exterior, you know Jamie Oliver didn’t build a multi-million pound empire by calling everyone ‘mate’.

And now it turns out that our very own Nigella has been cooking up more than just chocolate soufflé. I personally find it hard to believe that she was whacked out of her head whilst presenting Nigellissema, but it might go some way to explaining why she has a permanent look of bliss on her face.

Anyway back to Marcus, a very serious chef who doesn’t smile. Here is his Mushroom Cobbler.


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