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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Surf ‘n’ Turf with Maryland Crab Cakes

I’ve been good recently. And when I write ‘good’, I mean amazing. Like unbelievable. Saint material. Low fat, low carbs, low fun. So I thought sod it let’s be bad.

What’s bad?

Well red meat is obviously bad. And crab cakes have to be bad because they are so yumbo.

However this creation is surprisingly not that bad (P.S. ‘bad’ is defined as anything that tastes good and doesn’t leave you wanting more). The steak is fillet which has little fat. The crab cakes utilise ultra low fat mayonnaise. In fact I would recommend this creation to anyone interested in a long and healthy existence.

I’ve labelled these Maryland Crab Cakes but truth be-told I’m not sure what that means  (although I haven’t got any bay seasoning, whatever that is, and some of the crab comes out of a tin, which probably kills off any remaining authenticity).

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Spicy Aubergine Stew with Coriander and Mint

After the stunning let down that was ‘Low Calorie Tandoori Chicken’ I decided to try something else. Which is a stupid thing to write because I’m hardly going to try the same thing again.

Eggplant, or aubergine (that’s ‘o’ver-gene with a soft ‘g’, or ‘Or’-bergine as the wife says) is a main-stay for those of the herbivorous persausion, with a sort of chunky substantiality (is that a word?) that doesn’t turn to mush, unless you overcook it, which I nearly always do.

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So a quick online search led me yet again to the BBC Good Food website and Spicy Aubergine Stew with Coriander and Mint. ‘Interesting’ combination but I assumed the liberal application of chilli would drown out any conflicting flavours, and all for a purported 178 calories (really? Not 179?).

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Satay Sirloin Steak – delicious and that is a fact.

Now you hear a lot of ‘facts’ on TV, radio, the internet. ‘Experts’, with ‘opinions’, about ‘things’. For example:

It’s an absolute fact that if everyone in China jumped up and down at the same time, the orbit of the Earth would alter sufficiently for us to be put on a collision course with the Sun. Why? Well because the Chinese just get on and do what they are told.

If the population of Europe tried to do it everyone would start arguing; the Germans would want to tell everyone else what to do, which would cause the French to sulk, and the Italians would put two fingers up and go sleep with each other, whilst the Spanish would be too busy having a siesta anyway and would miss the whole debacle.

What about the English I hear you yawn. Well, we aren’t European are we?

Of course the Americans might be able to do it, but the Japanese would probably do it better. And cheaper. Probably more reliable as well. Now, where was I? Oh yes, facts.

If a butterfly in the Amazon farts, a dog gets a bad case of the shits in Hyde Park, London. (I put the London bit in there because there is a Hyde Park in NY State apparently, and I don’t want anyone there thinking their dog might take a random dump on the lounge carpet because of a butterfly; it won’t, he will do it deliberately to piss you off). Anyway, small changes having big consequences is called the ‘Butterfly Effect’. I think that’s it.

So I can handle being told all these interesting facts. Useful information even. I mean if I ever end up as head of the Chinese State and then go mad with power, I will just shout ‘jump’!

But being told what is good for you and what isn’t frankly gets on my tits. Red wine causes cancer, but it’s good for your circulatory system.

Red meat causes cancer, heart disease and bowel obstructions. But it’s got iron and protein, and they are good things.

Quinoa is an excellent healthy food, but looks like desiccated fish spawn.

So when is he going to get to some food you might well ask, if you’ve got this far. Well right now. Today’s offering on the culinary merry-go-round is ‘Satay Beef with Noodles’.

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The combination of sirloin steak and peanut sauce was a new one for me, but it worked well (if memory serves).

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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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