Happiness Salad

Happiness Salad. (There’s an oxymoron right there). I decided I had to create a salad. Salads mean goodness. Salads mean piousness. Salads are eaten by people who want to live for many years, so they can do lots of things.

Salads also mean boring. So I turbocharged mine. There are so many items in this Happiness Salad, it needs its own library to store the ingredients list.

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Spoil Yourself Steak

I found out a new fascinating fact the other day.

A Venus Fly Trap could consume a human being.

For this to happen the aforementioned human would have to be served up to the predatory plant in little bits, of no more than one gramme at a time (each gramme taking about 1 3/4 days to process). Anymore than that and it would freak out and stop working.

On that basis, given the average human weighs about 75,000 grammes, it would take the little blighter 378 years to finish off dear Aunt Gladys. (BTW all this information is courtesy of a Sunday Times journalist, @MattRudd, who is paid money to come up with this stuff. Some people have the life. Still, he reckoned it was 1,500 yrs but I reckon its 378. It matters people).

So what, I hear you yawn. In fact someone might be reading this and thinking what is this drivel, where is the steak. Actually if someone is reading this then I’m really happy. If someone is reading this and still thinking, I’m ecstatic).

Well the point is, if a Venus Fly Trap can eat a man in 378 years (admitedly in very small portions), then how long would it take to eat this steak?

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Venison Steak with Salsa

This is the most virtuous food creation I will blog about this year.

Ironically I made it last year, but thought it most appropriate to write about now, given most of us are weeping quietly into our bowls of whole grain green smoothie granola, wondering why we can’t show a little restraint during the festive period, in order to mitigate the feeling of helplessness that decends when the belt buckle laughs silently, as we try to reach the third hole, when everyone of those holes knows it’s the fourth’s turn (again).

But fear not. As all those cookery books, celebrity chefs and worthy websites constantly reinforce – you can eat low calorie, healthy, balanced meals that are also filling and delicious. There are phrases for those kinds of claims. But I’m not typing them. It’s a New Year’s resolution. No rude words. Trying to clean my act up. That, and whenever I write a rude word I seem to lose 10 Twitter followers. Which makes my overall follower numbers go up and down like a whore’s drawers. Oops, I did it again.

Any-who, you can get lucky. Here’s a recipe that’s so easy and quick I should have had to pay for it. Vension with Salsa. I reckon it’s got about 10 calories. Not even lying.

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The Biggest Steak I Ever Ate

I’m thinking of renaming this blog ‘John’s Blog of Steaks’. It’s all I seem to be cooking right now. Steak with this. Steak with that. Being married to a vegetarian doesn’t seem to be a problem.

I mean if I decide to make ‘Steak and Beans’ then I simply make ‘Beans’ for the wife. Boom boom! (She told me to write that). So when I visited my newly discovered ‘Country Farm Shop’ I decided to go for broke and get a big steak. A really big one.

I walked up to the butcher’s counter and asked for a thicker sirloin than those on display.

‘One moment sir’, replied the man, and disappeared out the back. He was gone for five minutes.

I started wandering around, and found some chocolate covered nuts to stare at (it’s that kind of shop). He returned, with half a cow slung over his shoulder. (I really like that shop).

He cut out the relevant piece of carcass (I don’t know the butcher’s jingo, so keep with me), and placed it on the counter, holding a large cutlass, sorry knife, over the meat.

Immediately I sprung into action.

‘Keep going’, I said as he moved the knife to his left, slowly, to determine the thickness of the steak I wanted.

‘Go, on’, I continued, a slightly increased pitch in my voice betraying my growing excitement (I’ve eaten steaks at Kincaid’s in Redondo Beach, so I know what I want).

The man gave me a sideways glance (kind of, ‘For God’s sake man, this is England, have some decorum’) but the knife edged along.

‘That’s it’.

He sighed with relief.

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To be clear – that’s a dinner plate, not a side plate…

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Cottage Pie with Seared Fillet in a Madeira Sauce, Parsnip Puree Croquettes and Horseradish Cream’. Or ‘Beef, Two Ways’

I was watching ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ the other day. MasterChef is bad enough in terms of the sheer terror those poor contestants go through, but being on the show and being a professional chef as well is even worse.

Having the likes of Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg ‘that’s a lovely plate of food’ Wallace tell the head chef of a gastropub in Hampstead Heath that his ‘Pan-fried Duck with Distressed Carrot Salad on a Bed of Infused Cherry Curds with Cognac Reduction’ looks like road kill could do more than dent a bit of pride.

One of the meals prepared was ‘Lamb three ways’. The chef did Shepard’s Pie (in a mini saucepan), a kind of lamb meatball thing (can’t remember exactly what it was) and lamb leg loin. It looked good to me but the judges were harsh and said it didn’t taste of anything much. Of course us viewers wouldn’t know, we just stare at the food whilst munching on nuts and sipping a glass of wine thinking ‘I wish I was eating that rather than these crappy nuts’.

So I decided to do something like what I’d seen. You know ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’. I opted for ‘Cottage Pie with Seared Fillet in a Madeira Sauce, Parsnip Puree Croquettes and Horseradish Cream’. Or ‘Beef, Two Ways’.

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