Vietnamese Style Caramelised Pork

In my increasingly desperate attempts to find something new to cook I happened upon this creation in the Good Food Magazine. I doubt it’s very Vietnamese but sweet and meat are usually a good combo.

It occured to me; would a food blogger in Vietnam be interested in recreating a classic English roast beef dinner? Do Mexican food bloggers try making Spotted Dick when they get sick of quesadillas? Something tells me they don’t. Don’t get sick of quesadillas and don’t try making Spotted Dick. I don’t know whether many of you have tried Spotted Dick, it’s not worth the trouble really.

If I had kept up my series of ‘Quick & Easy’ recipes, this would have made it into that category. But I didn’t; lets just say this is quick. And easy.

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Steak au poivre

Or Pepper Steak. Simple enough concept, but check the internet and the gastronomes get pretty heated. It doesn’t have cream. Yes it does! It only has red wine. Brandy, you fool! Pepper should only be applied to one side of the steak. Oh you moron, its both sides.

I could go on. Basically I had two small fillet steaks, some brandy, cream and not enough peppercorns. In fact you’re supposed to have green and black peppercorns. Which I had. I bought the green ones by mistake thinking they were capers, for something else. But they’re pickled so I forgot about them.

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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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