How many of you foodies out there worry about your weight?
Are you one of the lucky ones who, with the more you eat, the less you weigh? Or are you one of the silent masses, where every tasty morsel stretches the old leather belt running through the hoops on your off-the-rack charcoal grey suit?
Well I’m one of the the great unwashed. I just look at an iced bun and that old belt starts to groan.
Normally, well, I just don’t give a toss. But not right now.
Ooooh I’m so busy! Look at my Outlook calender – I can’t possibly meet you until next Wednesday…I’m in demand. People need me!
What am I going on about? Work. People at work who define their importance/brilliance/superiority by the number of meetings they have booked into their ‘diaries’ (in the UK we call them diaries – everywhere else its a calender).
Frankly it gets on my tits (which, BTW, are slowly evaporating as I am on yet another diet). I mean I don’t give a shit how many meetings you have, you still don’t deliver the goods and I need that Powerpoint presentation NOW!).
Anyway I am busy. Lots to do. Deals to make. Presentations to present. And I also need to prepare family-friendly fare that will be eaten at home and not shoved round the plate like the last stale custard cream on the plate at a particularly tedious strategy meeting.
So I decided to try out the French version of Shepherd’s Pie – Lamb Parmentier. It’s so easy – lamb, potatoes, stock. Period.
It’s easy right? Slow cooking I mean; Stick a load of stuff in a pot and set the switch to low. Walk away and come back 8 hours later to a delicious creation of tender meat and juicy loveliness.
Well no, not really. We acquired a genuine slow cooker recently. And I have never used a slow cooker. Its got a ceramic bowl that sits in an aluminium shell that warms up. There are three settings – low, high and auto.
How difficult can it be? Difficult. Painfully so. You see there are, I learned later on, some rules to cooking with a Slow Cooker. We’ll get to those later on. For now lets take a look at the cooker:
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.
I watched the Great Gordon (Ramsay) the other night on Hell’s Kitchen USA. It’s usually great entertainment – a fiery Scot facing up to an equally fiery 3rd generation Italian American running a pasta joint somehwere.
But there was something a bit sad about this particular restaurateur. He missed his parents and even Gordon couldn’t be that shouty at him, although the meatballs that were being served had been frozen for longer than an Eskimo’s dangly bits.
So I warmed to Gordon and decided to search the archives for a Ramsay-inspired creation, and found this - Smoked Haddock Soufflé Pancakes.