Chocolate, Pears and Pastry: When Puddings Go Bad.

‘What’s the prognosis Doctor?’

‘Well sir, it isn’t good.’

‘For heaven’s sake man, give it to me straight. I can take it.’

‘Well….you’re just shit at cooking with pastry.’

‘My God. I can’t believe this is happening.’

‘You’re not alone sir. Many, many good people have come to terms with this reality.’

‘But I just don’t think I can take this kind of rejection.’

‘It becomes easier…with time.’

And so on to my latest pastry-based culinary disaster. And I blame many, many things.

I blame the Hairy Bikers for a recipe that was never going to work.

I blame the tosspots who produce ready-rolled puff pastry. Have these morons ever actually cooked anything with this crap? Its so thin its useless.

And lastly I blame my hands – hot, sweaty bloody things that turn pastry to useless slippery mush in two seconds flat.

Even so it all started so promisingly – with a nice collection of ingredients all weighed out and ready to roll:

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Summer Strawberry Layer Dessert with Rain, Hail and Thunder

Saturday afternoon, the rain won’t stop and to be honest it’s all getting a bit tedious. I mean in April most of England was served a Hosepipe Ban meaning we couldn’t water the garden (oh dear, what a shame), wash our cars (that’s what car washes are for) or do anything else using water outside (oh no, how will I fill my 100m heated swimming pull with integrated jacuzzi?).

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What Have Cornish Pasties and Champagne Got in Common?

Well Cornwall will tell you only Cornwall produce real Cornish pasties. Just like people in Champagne would say the only place that produces real champagne is Champagne. All sounds a bit much to me. The European Union has a lot to answer for (just ask Conor) I mean it’s not like Pizza Hut is laying claim to the pizza. Or McDonalds the burger. Well it might be.

Anyway I am a pie boy. Meat and pastry. It’s not good for you and it rarely looks pretty but it always tastes good. Even when you cock it up. And when pastry comes into the equation I usually do. Cock it up that is. The last time I made pasties I made my own shortcrust pastry and they were so heavy I could have used them as bricks.

But Cornish Pasties are so simple I tried again. I mean there are only a few ingredients. How hard can it be?

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Goat’s Cheese and Potato Tart

In my ongoing quest to create interesting things that do not contain meat, (Had I not mentioned that particular quest before? No? Okay I confess I just made it up but with a vegetarian in the house its kind of a good idea), the issue often comes down to cheese.

Cheese is a difficult one – it can be tasty but its also in no way particularly good for you and can overpower everything else in your dish if you’re not careful (speaking from experience here).

Goat’s Cheese is perfect though – its light, holds its shape a bit when cooked and doesn’t taste like its been sitting in a damp cupboard for three years. Perfect partnered with herbage on pastry.

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Best of British – Steak and Kidney Pudding

Cooking with wine is one of life’s little pleasures. However there are risks. The main risk is that the longer the dish takes, the greater the chance of mishaps occurring.

This particular dish took SIX (6) hours to complete. Now I’m not saying I was drinking wine for six hours but the results might suggest that. Anyway critical ingredients are shown below:

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