Coconut Spinach and Lemony Chickpeas

This was an interesting creation I happened upon on an American blog called ‘the kitchn‘. Edgy title. Edgy? Well, see how they miss out the ‘e’ from ‘kitchen’. That’s edgy. It says ‘we do food, but we don’t follow the rules’. Anyway enough banter, they do some very nice dishes and are now a useful source of inspiration. And this one was dead easy, served with a baked sweet potato, which is a culinary sensation in itself.

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Mississippi Mud Pie

I definitely do like a good pie. Pie and chips. Pie and ale. Pizza pie. Pie-eyed (that’s me). All things pie (except the maths version, which you were taught at school, which is useless information unless you are paid to draw circles, and it doesn’t have an ‘e’ on the end).

But nothing resonates in this food blogger’s brain more than the term ‘Mississippi Mud Pie’. I mean come on, what dish, what culinary creation, has a name more evocative? Dirty water and dirty…well dirt.

Of course, as we all know, Mississippi Mud Pie is so called because its biscuity base reminds one of the banks of the Mississippi. Actually I have no idea what the banks of the Mississipi look like, except from what I have seen watching Mel Gibson in Maverick, and possibly an episode of National Geographic at some point.

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But can a Mississippi Mud Pie really evoke a dirty big river? I can feel a scientific analysis coming on…

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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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Braised Short Ribs

Just about the only cut of meat I haven’t cooked was short ribs. (That’s a complete untruth, there are many, many cuts of meat I haven’t cooked yet but slow-cooked ribs is the one that I fancied most).

As we got our first frost of the winter today I thought I would celebrate by writing up this bad boy from a week or so ago.

One moment please, I’m just going outside to shoot the annoying person setting off some fireworks…

…okay he isn’t going to be doing that anymore. Back to the frost scenario. This year Autumn (or ‘fall’ as some say) has been the warmest ever (some bright spark could probably bore us to death with meteorological statistics saying it was warmer in 1934, but I don’t care, it was warm, like 25 centigrade in October warm).

And you know, things go a bit weird when the weather does funny things in Britain. Wearing t-shirts and shorts in the last week of October just looks strange. Its not right.

So when it got a bit chilly a week or so ago I headed off to the local butchers (local as in 20 minutes drive) to get me some ribs. Now the butchers are usually a jovial pair, all ‘Sir’ and ‘Lovely cut that’ and all that crap. But that day they were not in a good mood.

‘Have you got any short ribs?’

‘Well we have ribs, pork or beef?’

‘Beef’ (How was I to know to make them short they just cut them down the middle)

Can you cut them down the middle?’

‘I can cut them anyway you want (slight pause) sir’.

‘Fine, do that’.  I turned round, annoyed, and stared at some pickles, almost wanting to walk out but wanting those ribs more.

Anyway the old guy cheered up and started recommending all sorts of methods of preparation. But I wasn’t listening. I had spotted a small but very dark 42 day aged fillet steak. I chose that too, for another day…

Back home I put my plan into action. I intended marinading the ribs and then slow cooking them in wine. Lots of wine.

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Of Psychotic Jack o’lanterns and Brownie melt-downs

I don’t think I know, or even care, what Halloween is about anymore. It’s like something to do with something about some pagan ritual. Or is it something to do with saving our souls from pagan rituals. Or is it about warding off the second coming of the son of St Pumpkin.

Actually isn’t it a nod to the founding fathers staving off the attack of some indigenous peoples who were encroaching on a field of butternut squash? No, fool; Halloween is recognition of Jack Nicholson dealing with Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfiefer. At the same time. Period.

Whatever, Halloween is a good excuse to do stupid things to vegetables. It isn’t really a good excuse to make a mess with chocolate, but I propose introducing the latter as a new traditional activity.

So this Halloween we proceeded to make Chocolate Mallow Brownies. And also get busy on a couple of pumpkins. At the same time.

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Forget American Horror Story, this is where the terror begins…

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