Shrimp Etouffee

When I started this blog, way back in 1784, I promised myself I would try and never cook the same thing twice (at least not cook the same thing twice and blog it, I mean I’m not going to try and live out a whole lifetime without literally cooking the same thing twice, that would be stupid. Stupid and tedious).

Of course I have failed. I’ve done fish and chips several times. I’ve cooked steak about a million times. I just love photographing bloody steaks. Yumbo. Never really blogged about pasta though. The odd lasagne maybe.

But generally I am on a constant search for inspiration. TV programmes (Watching Saturday Kitchen in bed in the morning is usually a good source of ideas, or anything Gordon Ramsay, like his souffle pancakes). The BBC Good Food Magazine comes up with some gems every now and then (Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake, for example). And films. The Godfather, where they make meatballs, is always a good one.

So I was watching ‘Interview with the Vampire’, with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. They are a pair of vampires sucking the blood out of the locals in 18th century New Orleans. And I got to thinking. What would they eat round there if they didn’t have to drink fresh blood?

So I got busy on Google (All pray to the real God) and found Shrimp Etouffee.

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Homemade Chicken Doner Kebab

In my quest (did I mention I was on a quest? I didn’t? Well I am) to recreate the kind of food you will desire, maybe even drool after, following some Friday night shenanigans, I happen-chanced across the Holy Grail of fast food creations; the Doner Kebab.

Yes the Doner Kebab; possibly the ultimate in culinary creations. The perfect match of meat and bread. Ideal sustinance for the worse-for-wear. All the salty fattiness you could want after a pub-induced coma, combined with the practicality and portability of the humble pitta bread.

I will not bore you here with the tedious realities of buying and eating Doner Kebabs after hours (suffice to say you are basically taking your life into your own hands). I will instead focus on creating this meaty treat at home.

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Surf and Turf, Atkins Style

You’ll all remember the Atkins Diet craze – eat fat and protein, a few green things, and watch those pounds fall away. And then suffer some unpleasant side effects, which we won’t go into here. Well I am on a diet but to be honest, now that I can fit into my Aqcuascutum* suit, it’s getting a bit difficult to maintain the motivation.

(*That’s not bragging, they’re on the verge of bankruptcy so I’ve heard)

So in order to a) fulfill the need to cook delicious food with b) my desire to pretend that I am still losing weight, I decided to revisit an old favourite – Surf ‘n’ Turf.

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Mediterranean Fish Stew with Garlic Ciabatta

New Le Creuset soup bowls. With lids! A gift from the wife for my birthday back in June. Had to try them out.

We decided on a fishy creation rather than standard soup and went for a tomatoey base rather than creamy. And (shock, gasp) this dish is actually quite healthy!

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Random Red Thai Curry

When I started this blog I had no idea where I was going with it. And I still don’t. Apparently best practice dictates you have a theme. And you stick to it. So you get food blogs. You get travel blogs. Photography. Films. Books. Politics. And so on. I started by trying to be funny. That didn’t work.

So then I did a post where I made a chicken curry using a Chinese curry paste. And I got loads of likes and comments. So I carried on. But food blogs are dangerous. You eat what you make. And I don’t really do exercise posts.

So the Happiness Stan Blog has turned into a kind of food blog liberally sprinkled with observations about what is going on in the small world it lives in. It’s not an Epicurian’s delight. I cheat and cut corners where ever possible. Take Thai Curry for example. You can (and I have) create the curry paste from scratch – chop the chillis, peel the lime grass etc. Or just buy a jar of ready made and be done with it:

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